Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Price of E-venience

The New Yorker debuted its new iPad app this week, allowing anyone with an iPad to pay $5 per issue to receive the magazine online.  About the price of a latte at Starbucks.   This new way of doing business was ushered in by Jason Schwartzman in a hilarious video (forwarded to me by my husband who had received it on Twitter), which should have come with a warning NOT to attempt the watery feats at home with one's iPad.

For several years now we have been receiving the New Yorker in our mailbox each week, all for a cost of $47 a year.  That's less than $1 an issue and it costs Conde Nast the price of printing the magazine and mailing it to us.  So I can now pay $260 a year to get it electronically.  What's wrong with this picture?

My husband called up Conde Nast and asked if we could just trade in our paper subscription for an electronic subscription.  Seems like a win-win to me:  We get what we want and they no longer have to pay for printing or postage.  But instead of agreeing, they acted like this had never come up before and said they would relay his suggestion to someone else -- a typical delaying tactic.  They have yet to get back to him.

So why should this be an issue at all?  Probably because they stand to gain more money by simply charging $5 an issue for ALL e-copies of The New Yorker.  Plain and simple.  And the sad truth is that people who are now paying $5 a day for a latte and thinking nothing of it are more than willing to pay $5 a week in order to conveniently read their favorite magazine on their iPads while they sip their latte at Starbucks.

The jury is out as to whether we will continue our paper subscription, often looking for the latest issue, or bite the bullet and know it will be on our iPads each week and we can both be reading it at the same time.  The iPad choice would eliminate that nasty problem of magazines piling up and having to be somehow donated or recycled.


Anonymous lr said...

Perhaps part of the increase in the price of the subscription is to cover the cost of the clever, though no doubt expensive advertising video. :-)

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a slippery slope! :-)


2:24 PM  
Blogger Terry said...

OK, this makes no sense to me whatever, BECAUSE the New Yorker is already online for free. Here: I love it. I wonder if they will discontinue the web site now that they have created the app.

2:56 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

I find it unacceptable that they could charge more for this e version. I am all for going green but c'mon!

3:38 PM  
Blogger Merle Sneed said...

Believe it or not, they are counting on people either not making that connection (paying more for less), or banking on people's willingness to pay for the cool.

8:06 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

I think Merle got it right. Actually they advertise that the iPad version comes with some bells and whistles that no one else gets, but I'm not yet convinced they will be worth $5 a pop!

10:51 PM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

The New Yorker makes for perfect bedtime reading because it's relatively thin and won't throw your neck out when you fall asleep on top of it. I can't imagine bringing an electronic device to bed with me!

2:47 PM  
Blogger Steve Reed said...

Actually, Terry, I don't think ALL of The New Yorker is online. They usually withhold some content.

My guess, Barbara, is that they're trying to quickly recoup the cost of developing this app and the electronic edition. It really doesn't make sense, though, to charge that much. People should have a cost incentive to go green.

7:23 AM  

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