Greg's bite: affordable digital magazines
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Greg's bite: affordable digital magazines

By Greg Mills

As I have mused in previous articles, digital download content must have reasonable economic market value to flourish. The old concept of "everything on the Internet needs to be free" has slowly evolved into a mixture of both free and paid content.  

Apple was really the first to create a "go to market" scheme that worked, selling digital music on line for a dollar a song. It was due to a combination of a serious intellectual property protection system, a neat iTunes interface for both Macs and the PC, iPods that just worked and (Steve Jobs, who was personality able to hammer the music industry into accepting his pricing structure). While there is still some bitching and moaning, Apple's iTunes store is just too big a market for serious music labels to not participate in.

Now, the same sort of pricing issues are being worked out in the publishing industry.  Magazines that are currently printed on downed trees are struggling to find the economic sweet spot for digital download of that same content and potentially more, as in video. The first digital download magazines were priced nearly as high as half an entire year of regular magazine issues, that have to be printed on paper and mailed to readers at great expense.  

The market spoke in a fairly uniform voice, as people were not willing to pay so much on a regular basis. I suspect a lot of folks bought one digital magazine as sort of a test of the concept, only out of curiosity. Sales were very limited, at that price point.  

Six months later, some major publishers have moved to a new and more affordable price structure where those who pay for a paper version subscription as get the right to download the digital version at no additional price. I think they are just half-way there in reducing the price structure to meet the market price. Look for the same market price "gravity" to also force iBooks down. Jobs is sly enough to have anticipated all this.  

There is an interesting price point calculation that goes on in our heads when we see something we like and then look at the price. "Sticker shock" and "buyer's remorse" occur when the reasonable expectation of what something ought to cost is exceeded by too much. Sometimes we rationalize and just go ahead and buy things that seem a bit pricey, but we want them enough to go ahead and pay the high asking price. This process in many cultures is called haggling and is expected in most purchases.

The game is played and enjoyed by both sides as the seller prices his wares so high only a fool or a foreigner would pay the price listed. The savvy buyer offers half the asking price as both a starting point and to indicate to the seller that they are interested in buying the item. The issue is only the price. The buyer and seller work the price out in an animated and dramatic ritual as old as commerce itself. The buyer may just walk away to indicate he is not willing to match the seller's lowest asking price. The buyer (seller of the goods) may follow and drop his asking price in hopes of finding an acceptable negotiated price.  

Digital magazine buyers walked away in droves and early downloaded magazines failed to take off at the high price publisher hoped for. Now they are drastically dropping their price to include the download for free to those willing to buy the hard copy subscription. I submit that there will be one major final price reduction to reach the tipping point where digital downloaded magazines actually replace paper versions. That is when the buyers are willing to drop the hard copy and settle for just the digital copy for some price less than the snail mail subscription price. If you can give me the 12 hard copy issues for $9.99 and include the digital download for free, why not cut the price to $4.99 for 12 digital issues alone and keep the printing, paper and mailing costs out of the calculation? Look for that to happen before the digital magazine actually replaces the hard copy.  

"People" magazine was the first to break the first price barrier, but still wants to send you the hard copy at current subscription prices. People who subscribe to "People" magazine can also go to the Apple App Store and download an app that lets them enter their hard copy subscription number to get a free digital copy of the current issue. "It's our way of say thanks for being a valued print subscriber" the in-app storefront says. I read between the lines to read a bit more: "Once we get you used to the digital version, we will offer you a few bucks off to drop the dead tree version."  

The old calculus of what something is worth will kick in, and when there is a reasonable discount for consumers who forgo the paper, printing and mailing costs compared to the current subscription price, digital magazines will really take off.  I will go on record as stating that when a digital download subscription (without the hard copy) gets down to half the best annual subscription rate now available, the digital magazine age will begin and iPad and similar devices that are coming, will really reach their potential. That will not happen until greedy publishers really get that consumers demand a major discount for not getting a hard copy.

On a personal note, the US Patent Office recently published my Utility Patent Application for a Solar Energy Start-Up I have been working on. While it is never a slam-dunk to get the PTO to agree that something is novel, my attorney and I are quite hopeful I will get a patent on converting used dual pane window and sliding door glass into thermal solar panels.  

This technology promises to convert some of the10,000,000 foggy or lime deposit spoiled glass window units now going into the landfills of the USA. I want to convert some of that glass into solar panels to heat water.  I entered a contest being held by General Electric. While engineer judges will award the serious money to the most promising technology, the public can vote for the the ideas they like the best.  If you like my idea, it would be cool of my readers for me to have your vote!  The handsome, grey haired dude that looks a lot like Tom Selleck in the picture is me.  Thanks for your support! Go to http://challenge.ecomagination.com/ct/ct_a_view_idea.bix?i=130D0D83 .

By the way, Finally, there is an app for that. The Apple App Store (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ge-challenge/id380664613?mt=8) has a free app that lets you hook up with the GE Innovation contest.

(Greg Mills is currently a Faux Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. He's working on a solar energy startup using a patent pending process of turning waste dual pane glass into thermal solar panels used to heat water. Married, with one daughter still at home, Greg writes for intellectual web sites and Mac related issues. See Greg's web sites at http://www.gregmills.info . He can be emailed at gregmills@mac.com )

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

The beginner's guide to Warbits
Warbits is a turn-based strategy that's clearly inspired by Nintendo's Advance Wars series. Since turn-based strategy games can be kind of tricky to dive into, see below for a few tips to help you in the beginning. Positioning is crucial [Read... | Read more »
How to upgrade your character in Spellsp...
So you’ve mastered the basics of Spellspire. By which I mean you’ve realised it’s all about spelling things in a spire. What next? Well you’re going to need to figure out how to toughen up your character. It’s all well and good being able to spell... | Read more »
5 slither.io mash-ups we'd love to...
If there's one thing that slither.io has proved, it's that the addictive gameplay of Agar.io can be transplanted onto basically anything and it will still be good fun. It wouldn't be surprising if we saw other developers jumping on the bandwagon,... | Read more »
How to navigate the terrain in Sky Charm...
Sky Charms is a whimsical match-'em up adventure that uses creative level design to really ramp up the difficulty. [Read more] | Read more »
Victorious Knight (Games)
Victorious Knight 1.3 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.3 (iTunes) Description: New challenges awaits you! Experience fresh RPG experience with a unique combat mechanic, packed with high quality 3D... | Read more »
Agent Gumball - Roguelike Spy Game (Gam...
Agent Gumball - Roguelike Spy Game 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Someone’s been spying on Gumball. What the what?! Two can play at that game! GO UNDERCOVERSneak past enemy... | Read more »
Runaway Toad (Games)
Runaway Toad 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: It ain’t easy bein’ green! Tap, hold, and swipe to help Toad hop to safety in this gorgeous new action game from the creators of... | Read more »
PsyCard (Games)
PsyCard 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: From the makers och Card City Nights, Progress To 100 and Ittle Dew PSYCARD is a minesweeper-like game set in a cozy cyberpunk... | Read more »
Sago Mini Robot Party (Education)
Sago Mini Robot Party 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: -- Children's Technology Review Editor's Choice -- | Read more »
Egz – The Origin of the Universe (Games...
Egz – The Origin of the Universe 1.0.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0.2 (iTunes) Description: ►►► Special offer until 2nd may : get the game at 2.99€ instead of 3.99€ ! ◄◄◄ Egz is a mesmerizing mix... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Price drops on clearance 12-inch Retina MacBo...
B&H Photo has dropped prices on leftover 2015 12″ Retina MacBooks with models now available starting at $999. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 12″ 1.1GHz Gray Retina MacBook... Read more
15-inch Retina MacBook Pros available for $20...
B&H Photo has 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $210 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1799 $200 off MSRP - 15″ 2.5GHz Retina... Read more
Target offers Apple Watch Sport for $50 off M...
Target has Apple Watch Sports on sale for $50 off MSRP for a limited time. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for online orders only, in-store prices may vary... Read more
Apple restocks Certified Refurbished Mac mini...
Apple has restocked Certified Refurbished 2014 Mac minis, with models available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $... Read more
15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
Amazon.com has the 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1699.99 including free shipping. Their price is $300 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model from any reseller (and... Read more
Apple Beats Microsoft at Own Game; Amazon Pri...
First quarter seasonality combined with an overall disinterested customer base led to an annual decline of 14.7% in worldwide tablet shipments during the first quarter of 2016 (1Q16). Worldwide... Read more
Tablets Had Worst Quarter Since 2012, says St...
The global tablet market began 2016 just as 2015 left off, down. Tablet shipments fell 10% to 46.5 million units during the Q1 2016, according to the new “Preliminary Global Tablet Shipments and... Read more
Clearance 13-inch MacBook Airs, Apple refurbi...
Apple recently dropped prices on certified refurbished 2015 13″ MacBook Airs with 4GB of RAM with models now available starting at $759. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and... Read more
Clearance 12-inch Retina MacBooks, Apple refu...
Apple has dropped prices on Certified Refurbished 2015 12″ Retina MacBooks with models now available starting at $929. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping... Read more
Aleratec Releases Mac Software Upgrade for 1...
California based Aleratec Inc., designer, developer and manufacturer of Portable Device Management (PDM) charge/sync products for mobile devices and professional-grade duplicators for hard disk... Read more

Jobs Board

Restaurant Manager (Neighborhood Captain) - A...
…in every aspect of daily operation. WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: You'll be the Big Apple . You'll solve problems. You'll get to show your ability to handle the stress and Read more
Simply Mac *Apple* Specialist- Service Repa...
Simply Mac is the largest premier retailer of Apple products in the nation. In order to support our growing customer base, we are currently looking for a driven Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Restaurant Manager (Neighborhood Captain) - A...
…in every aspect of daily operation. WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: You'll be the Big Apple . You'll solve problems. You'll get to show your ability to handle the stress and Read more
Automotive Sales Consultant - Apple Ford Linc...
…you. The best candidates are smart, technologically savvy and are customer focused. Apple Ford Lincoln Apple Valley is different, because: $30,000 annual salary Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.