Digital Versions More Expensive Than Print Editions––Why?

No one doubts that the iPad and other mobile devices have revolutionized the marketplace. As consumers start to embrace this new technology, we have seen magazine and newspaper publishers offer digital versions of their titles in the hope of saving their falling printed title sales. What took me by surprise is that, more often than not, the price for the digital version is at or above the price for a hard copy. So the question becomes: Is the digital version worth more than the print edition?

I say yes! But let’s go into detail. What do you get with the printed version of a magazine or newspaper? Basically what you get are articles and advertisements. But what most print advocates will say is that you get the “hands-on experience.” While I too agree that this experience––from touch to smell, and even quality––is bar none, I have to admit it’s impractical. Just taking a quick survey on my commuter train reveals no one with a magazine or newspaper in hand! All the passengers, including me, have their faces buried in their smartphones. So what has fueled this dependency on mobile technology? It’s the convenience factor. Having your magazines, newspapers, games, calendar, and email on the same device that never leaves your side is utter convenience.

Back on topic, so what is it that you get in the digital version of a publication that warrants the higher price? You get the same articles and ads that are found in the print version, and then there is the digital content. Sure, you can flip through the pages just like you would in the print version, but what happens when you touch a picture? This is the selling point for digital editions: Inanimate objects come to life! When you touch a picture, you get more photos, or even a video. When you like a product in an ad, you can spin it around to look at it from all angles. Lastly, when you are ready to purchase that item, you can do so right there. It’s now about more than just the articles and ads––it’s about interactivity. Keeping readers in the publication longer, interacting with the articles and purchasing products right from the ads they found them in––this is marketing statistics at its best. How would you like to know the minute someone looked at your ad in a magazine and then, moments later, purchased it? You can’t get those stats from print!

Again, it’s all about convenience. Gone are the days of the magazine bin at home constantly overflowing or the purse bursting at the seams while the passenger boards her flight. It is the quintessential one-stop shop, the device that will run your life (or maybe even find you a wife). You won’t see mobile devices strewn across the street or filling up a recycling bin. Your device will be by your side, feeding you the information only you want. Helping you save time or waste time, your device will be indispensable. So, what happens when you leave home without it?

Author: John Mehl


3 responses to “Digital Versions More Expensive Than Print Editions––Why?

  1. Pingback: Big Companies Suck at Change, Newspapers Can’t Do the Internet, and Pepsi Fails at a Simple QR Code! | utterlyorange

  2. What seems even crazier is that for instance for Time Magazine I can get the print AND digital for $20/year but the digital only is almost twice the cost at $36/year. I’m theorizing that it’s because Time gets more advertising money for me in print since the digital version had few or no ads it looked like, but they incur more expenses in printing and delivering me a copy in the mail.

  3. Pingback: Facebook to Die Under the Knife of Magazines and Newspapers? Your Crystal Ball Is Malfunctioning. | utterlyorange

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