I’m not going to complain about the latest price increases announced by the Boston Globe, since I’m on the record as believing that newspapers can and should charge a lot more for their print editions. But does it have to be so confusing?
As home-delivery customers, we get charged by the month — $35.16, to be exact. But the new prices are by the week. Since we live in Greater Boston, the new price for us will be $12.25. As best as I can figure out, based on the Globe’s explanation, that’s an increase of $3 per week. Media Nation is an algebra-free zone. But if $9.25 is to $35.16 as $12.25 is to x, then I guess the new monthly price is $46.56.
Over at the Boston Phoenix, Adam Reilly, ponders moving to online-only, and asks whether his readers will pay the higher price. My answer: I couldn’t rely solely on Boston.com, the Globe’s free Web site, because its ad servers are miserably slow. It’s fine for reading a few stories, but not the whole paper.
If I had a Kindle, I would certainly consider switching to the Globe’s Kindle edition, which costs $9.99 a month. And if there were a Globe Reader e-version similar to the new Times Reader 2.0, I would consider dropping print and subscribing to that instead.
As is the case with many newspaper observers, my sense is that the advertising market won’t come back that strongly even after the recession ends. There have simply been too many systemic changes — the rise of Craigslist and the fall of downtown retail businesses to name perhaps the two most important.
In such an environment, newspapers are going to have to find a way to get readers to pick up more of the cost. It may be a hopeless task, and it may fail, as Warren Buffett warned recently. But unless they try, failure is guaranteed.