German publishers: Please get the point!

wtf...??? by Kai-Thomas KrauseI know that the rants are up to Roman usually, but this time I need to rant a little (sorry Roman). Sitting on my couch yesterday evening seeing a big pile of magazines I decided that it was time to get rid of the physical stuff and get my favourite ones in digital copy. At least I thought that I decided it. I mean in the end it makes sense – having all magazines with me on my tablet, cutting down the paper waste and saving loads of money. But I had to find out soon, that I was mistaken…

After downloading some apps for my favourite german magazines, I opened them up to take a look at the options I have to purchase – and was puzzled. At first I thought my glasses were dirty or the tablet screen needed to be cleaned to be able to read the numbers. But even after that procedure they stayed the same. The prices were just remarkably high to me. Some of my favorite news magazines cut down the price for the digital issue just a couple of cents compared to the print issue. If you go for a yearly subscription the prices are cut between 15% and 40%. WTF? It’s not that I do not want to pay the makers of good magazines, but with the digital issue I pay the logistics. I pay the tablet, the data volume, the power to recharge it and make a trade of of what to save on the device and what not. And the publishers’ side? For the digital copy… most of them add some bookmarks into their workflow and get out a PDF or other closed format, that is delivered to the tablet/PC of the user. So let’s sum up: they do not need to print it, pack it and distribute it. Sounds like huge savings to me.

I’m not complaining without reason. Maybe I stumbled upon a publisher that really embraced the idea of selling magazines online. I love to read the Wired magazine. Always did. But each time the purchase really hurt, since the US version cost around 12€ at the central train station. If you make a yearly subscription in the US it is around 55€. And guess what. They released their app and the yearly subscription is (drumroll) only 15.99€. In addition to this, the digital issue is enriched and uses the tablet’s features. Instead of one picture as in the print issue you get a gallery. You get video, sound and unique navigation. So I write it down in plain words: I get an enriched magazine experience for a fraction of the normal price. Maybe I would be willing to pay the price the german publisher want for their digital issues, if they added value and made the experience unique. But with just a plain digital copy of the print issue – no thanks.

It’s interesting, that the publishing industry is complaining all the time about copyrights and the digital change and deliver such bad examples. I guess it is time to embrace digital and see it as an equal channel to print and not as a by-product that is produced without love.

7 Responses to German publishers: Please get the point!

  1. mark. w. says:

    @kai: tzzzzz! go, puhlish a $1,99 mag!

  2. Pingback: Update on the publishing industry: Newsweek goes all digital in 2013 « ecomPunk

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  4. Roman says:

    There’s a new little twist to the story. A couple of days ago, Apple has raised the prices for publications such as Die Zeit and Spiegel, according to this (German) article in the PaperC blog. What becomes clear is: apparently, those magazine publishers don’t have the ability to set their own pricing. Rather, it’s apple dictating the prices of its In-App purchases. Food for thought, hey?

    • Kai says:

      Not really – some German magazines and newspapers decided to drop prices. So for example computer magazine Ct’ sells now for 2.69€ instead of 2.99€. Maybe they listened to my post ;-)

  5. Pingback: Modern escapism: About things simple and hand-made « ecomPunk

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