What a surprise, eh? Actually, this is even more exciting to me than the whole book thing, but that's because I love reading old news stories - I mean, really old. There's a section in Scientific American that gives the "what was news" 100 years ago. I just find that fascinating.
Anyway, you can now search news and magazine articles dating back as far as the 1700s in some cases. Since these archives are actually in the hands of various companies, Google cannot always give you free access. Instead, it drops you off at the owner's website to make your "donation" for the article. But the search results from Google do indicate which are free and which are not, so the casual web surfer doesn't have to waste time.