Having both a digital AND print subscription is best for readers

Enjoy it while you still can since the days of offering a print and digital subscription for the same price are numbered. The main reason is of course that the print subscription is so much more costly to print and distribute. Many publishers of newspapers and magazines are attempting to condition readers to the digital version of their content by offering the print subscription and tagging on the digital version as well at ‘no additional cost’.

I think people are smarter than that and realize that the print subscription is the price driver and the digital subscription is simply riding along. Remember that despite there not being anything to print or mail, there are costs associated with digital publishing. Platform hosting interfaces, programming, digital maintenance would be some examples (certainly there are more) and even the development of specific content for the digital platform is a cost.

The recent buzz about NIM (Next Issue Media http://www.nextissue.com) made me think about the future of printed vs. digital publishing. Actually I think about that all the time. NIM is an e-reading joint venture formed by five major U.S. print publishers. Due to problems with Apple’s publishing platform NIM titles will only be available on Android tablets for the moment with the promise the iPad version is coming soon. The titles are lacking as far as I (and many others feel the same) am concerned. The concept is that you pay a monthly subscription fee for full digital access for up to 30 or so publications for as little as $9.99/month. It’s a kind of Spotify or Netflix for magazine readers. It’s a really good idea that is lacking because there are so many titles which are NOT included right now.

Personally, I would much rather read long form articles in the Economist or New Yorker in the printed version. Yes I am getting over that the more that I use my Kindle Fire or iPad, but that’s to be expected from someone who grew up reading ink on paper. There are things about the printed version that I enjoy very much and cannot get in the digital version. Like having ads catch my eye for instance. The impact of a full page print ad in a printed version is much greater (to me) than a digital ad. True I cannot ‘interact’ with the printed ad as easily (even with a QR code), but the digital ad is much easier to ignore and I suspect I am far from unique in that aspect.

Another cool benefit of the printed published page is that I tend to read things I might pass up in the digital version because all I have to do is move my eye. I don’t have to click, swipe, open, view, go-back or do anything but just read it. In the digital version I don’t find myself doing that nearly as much. Do you find that to be true?

Where it’s all headed is most likely the direction of a substantial premium for the printed version and that prices for the digital versions will increase (not decrease) over time. But for now having print AND digital is the best of both worlds.

Will you miss printed published newspapers and magazines when they are a rarity or (worse?) a luxury item?

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver
This entry was posted in Advertising, Best business practices, Innovation, Publishing, Technology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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