Why going Paid Digital Edition only ends my Readership?
Or You Won’t Get Any Money Out of Me for My Own Clicks and Hits!
As previously mentioned a few of the longtime Amateur Radio Publications have failed in their present busines models and have chosed to try and subsitute Pail DIgital Editions Only for either formerly free digital readership, or for former print publications.
Perhaps this is the only solution to their cost of good sold issues, where they feel they cannot get enough revenue from combined subscriptions and advertizing to cover costs and provide for profit.
Let’s get past the Pollyanna nonsense claim that the profit isn’t important. In all honesty to the investors – whether one person or publically traded- they need to make a profit to make their resources available for the job.
None of us surely go to work to just cover our costs, expecting to make a bit of profit above our daily costs to set aside to reinvest, spend to enjoy or just save.
Enough basic Adam Smith economics, there is a fundamental set of flaws with the switch to Paid Digital Editions as the only thing I would get for my money.
Tangibility and Durability.
Tangibility in that the Electronic Only version is not something I can touch, I would have to invest more to have a printed copy, I can share it, mark it up (with the pencil in my pocket), and simple hold onto it. I have to have some sort of device to look at it, and usually am dependent on having Internet of some sort.
Durability in that it is good only as long as the copy remains available online, or until the provider disappears/changes servers/has a mega crash/feels like it, and is full subject to revisions at the whim of people who are unlikely to have to tell me that they changed the file – it may be to roll in a correction or to censor something that they decide to exploit commercially. Or any old reason.
And unlike a print copy, that I can go back to years later dust off and reread, you usually need a current subscription to access back issues – even if you had once paid for them in the past!
Trackability and Profiling.
Ok these two exist in print copies, perhaps less so if you have your copies of correspondence sent to a no-name post office box or forwarding service, but at least in print they don’t know how fast I read, home many times I have read it, where I have travelled with a copy on my device, and they don’t construct a personalized marketing campaign based on that information.
I will only lightly touch on this, as most of you surely know that the Internet you are shown (more correctly “shown and allowed to see”) is personalized and will be different than what I see. Wonderful tool if you want the net to do your searches presuming that Amateur Radio is your main interest, but not so wonderful when we learn that for a fee someone else can control the whole internet “Bubble” you are allowed in. And again they don’t have to tell you.
Basically I have found Digital Online Editions a welcomed bonus to actual print magazines I subscribe to, but have found that that when forced to only have a Digital Edition that I stop reading the publication.
Excepting very specialist information requiring exceptional timeliness, none of the Digital Edition Only publications have caught my sustained interest.
YMMV of course, and I have friends who say they hate getting paper copies and actively seek out Digital Media.
But that isn’t for me.
I could not have said it better myself. To me it is insulting to want me to pay the same price for a digital sub as they do for a print sub. Also, many of these digital subs require special reader software…no thanks.
I’ve already shared my primary complaint about the CQ digital editions, the lack of full disclosure in the marketing and actual sale (https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2011/10/15/digital-ham-magzeines-perhaps-and-then-perhaps-not%e2%80%a6-cq-group-moves-to-the-emagazine/#comment-4033). Frankly, the quality of the material and being limited to being able to view it only on a PC browser leaves me feeling that the introductory price was a little to high; the full-rate price would be outrageously too high. I shan’t be renewing my digital WRO subscription after it expires.
On a counterpoint, I recently got a digital subscription to Monitoring Times for a very reasonable price! The magazine is distributed as a PDF, and includes some extras not in the print edition (an expanded SW schedule.)
I’m not worried about privacy from Grove Enterprises, and the PDF’s work fine in my Nook Tablet. My eyes aren’t the best, so ebook hardware has been a boon to me. (I used to have lots of stacks of magazines, so I know how appealing that is to have at hand.)
I had to drop that magazine in the past due to budget limitations, and I was so happy to be able to get it again, even if I do have to read it on an electronic device!
I would be willing to pay the ARRL (I’m a member) for access to their full back catalog. (Yes, I know QST is online for members, but bear with me a moment.)
But it has to be at a realistic price. Too many ebooks are priced as they would be for print editions, even though the overhead is less. I can’t pay the ARRL for this service if they’re going to price it at a premium; I’ve never been able to justify, for example, getting their magazine collections on CD.
Right now, I’d subscribe to QEX printed edition but I would be much happier to have an electronic option. My landlord will not allow me to have the stacks of magazines I had when I was younger.