Magazines Looking To Raise Prices?

from the that'll-backfire dept

As newspapers are struggling with the question of whether or not to charge for content online as their print subscribers decrease, Aaron Martin-Colby points us to an article about how some magazines are also looking to increase the subscription fees for their paper magazines. Over the past few years, many magazines have followed the natural progression in a competitive market, and continually dropped their subscription prices, and made up the difference with advertising. Yet, some magazines are trying to buck that trend. The article highlights The Economist and People as examples of magazines who recently raised prices and still saw subscriptions rise. It will be interesting to see if that's sustained, however.

Oddly, the article doesn't even mention the internet as competition -- which seems to be leaving out a big part of the equation. The Economist and People are the sorts of magazines that people have subscribed to for many years, with a strong loyalty. So, I can see them sustaining subscribers even with a modest price increase -- but as alternative sources become more and more popular, you have to wonder if people will start to question if it's worth paying so much, when there's content that's just as good (if not better) available for free online.


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    Bill W, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 8:51pm

    Paper+web

    Two of the magazines that I subscribe to, Science News and Popular Science, have strong web offerings which are highlighted in the print versions.

    But I am really conflicted when reading the print versions because when I am reading the print I am not usually at the computer and so I don't leap to the keyboard to read the follow-ups.

    I love the portability of print. But I spend a lot of time online. I don't know where it's all going.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 9:11pm

    Edge magazine, considered one of the best gaming magazines, costs around $70 a year to subscribe. It has a subscriber base of 80-100k.

    EGM, once considered one of the better gaming magazines, used to always have some promotion that would get you a free subscription. They used this to tout their 600k subscriber base. EGM is no longer around.

     

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    Eddie, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 10:29pm

    All advertisement, no substance

    We're a manufacturing company. We used to get many magazines for free, so they can claim how many subscribers they have to advertisers. Problem is, the magazines contain too many advertisements and no substance (articles of interest).

    Within the last few years, we noticed more and more spam email from these very same magazines. How do I know ? We created fake email names and provided these only to the free magazine subscriptions. Seems, their in the business of selling information now.

    Because of this, we now cancel every magazine subscription since we can now find anything of interest on the internet.

    Besides, raising the cost to advertise pretty much marked their doom. Of course, if these magazines can be used, such as for fireplace logs, we would continue subscription, but that's not recommended so we rather not overload our landfill.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 12:58am

    what about dead tree + e versions?

    I love the convenience of stanza (ebook reader) on my iphone. I legally buy ebooks from whoever is selling what I want the cheapest, then crack whatever excuse for DRM they've chosen to smear on it, so I can read my *legally* purchased content on my own phone. no sharing, no copying, etc. Just me, reading what I paid for on my device(s) of choice. I always have my phone with me, so I always have something to read.

    But I don't always want to curl up with my phone.

    I prefer books and magazines, if they're handy. And I have no problems for paying a fair price. Generally market price in the US is pretty fair - I'm in Australia right now, where you're fsck'd in no uncertain terms on the cost of books and magazines: AU$70 for a book that sells for US$29 in the US. Not just exchange rate. And I don't buy that Australian printers are necessarily more expensive. Cheap printing is a solved problem. But I digress...

    I'd love it if my book/magazine purchase also came with an electronic version. I'd even pay a fair premium over just the dead tree version; maybe a couple of bucks. Servers, maintenance, and bandwidth aren't free, after all.

     

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    Neil, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 3:31am

    Economist online

    The past year of The Economist is free online anyway, but yet people still subscribe/buy it in print normally. At £4 a week (in the UK at least) it is far more expensive than most magazines, but people pay for it because it's content is good enough to justify that. In fact, there is so much content that I never have enough time to read it all before the next week's edition has arrived....

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 5:33am

    Because I do not take my laptop to the doctor's waiting room...

    I just know doctors are enthusiastic about buying laptops set up to let you click to online magazines. Not! As long as there are waiting rooms, there will be magazines. As long as there are checkout lines, there will be magazines. Magazines, are portable, lightweight, require no batteries, and if you drop it in the bathtub while reading it, no big loss, just an annoyance. What is the difference in annoyance factor when you drop your laptop in the bathtub, or splash water on it?

    One technology does not, as some have like to suggest, replace another. It may augment another, or it may fail disastrously. Witness, for example, electric knives. When electric knives came out they were all the rage, and there were some who thought that people would stop using plain, old, everyday manual knives. Yes, electric knives are still sold, but so are precision steel knives that cost $1,000 or even more. How many homes have an electric knife that they use. I know of noone with an electric knife, much less actually using one.

    While people frequently like to make comparisons to the buggy whip industry, in fact it is a growing industry, supplying tens of thousands of Amish, Mennonites, buggy ride operators, and racing enthusiasts. People tend to forget that just because they do not see buggy whips every day that thousands are still sold per year.

    We could go on about why one technology does not replace another, or why one does. I guess the astonishment comes when one realizes that perhaps there is more to people preferences and their willingness to buy convenience than one might realize.

     

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    myra, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 6:03am

    EVERLASTING

    Selling Planet Earth in Exchange for a Utopia? What’s the Catch?

    Humans sold planet Earth for peace, but little did they know peace would come at such a high cost.

    A long time ago, Humanity sold planet Earth to a group called the Evers in order to gain peace and a virtual utopia for themselves and for future generations. However, the cost of this paradise turns out to be too much for some to deal with and the humans soon find themselves ruled cruelly by the very beings who offered them salvation and at one point given them so much hope.

    Humans that were originally treated with high regards, made to feels special, are now being treated as animals, some humiliated and shipped away to some unknown fate…each being told what they could or could not do, under the guise of it being in humanities best interest.

    With a feeling of dread, a small group declares war on the more advanced Evers in hopes of returning things to the way they should be…to the way they had been. John and his make-shift crew of humans and hybrids (half human/half Ever) must not only find a way to break free of the mistakes of the past and find out the disturbing secrets that the Evers have hidden away, but they must also deal with their own personal issues and learn to live, grow, and deal with each others’ emotional issues of love, regret and fear.

    Will man give up youth and perfect health to live in the past? And will John take the chance of restoring Earth to its former state even though there’s a good chance his life-threatening disease can return?

    Publisher’s Web site: www.eloquentbooks.com/Everlasting.html

     

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    Gene Cavanaugh, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 9:51am

    Raising subscription prices

    Two comments:
    1. Who says the subscriptions went up? In the present environment of pure FUD we need more than a naked statement.
    2. Well established institutions do maintain momentum with their older patrons, even when they make access more difficult - what happens as these people die off?

     

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    Reddy Reader, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 2:55pm

    Freedom ain't Free

    I was just complaining about how you couldn't trust the reviews in most magazines since they wouldn't want to piss off their advertisers. I would prefer to pay more for quality and unbiased reviews and articles.

     

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