I'm having trouble understanding the costs of print editions of things vs their digital edition costs -- can somebody help?
The other day I received an offer from a magazine I read regularly, which I purchase from a local bookship via standing arrangement.
The offer was for a standard "European" subscription (the magazine is UK-based) of £24 for one year. Along-side this was a standard digital subscription for £19 for one year.
Hm, I thought. That is only a £5 total difference. What about the printing costs that are being saved? No fancy paper, no four-colour glossy. What about distribution? There's no mailing cost. No delivery costs. No sorting. No stamping or weighing.
The magazine is a quarterly, so that's a £1,25 per issue difference.
Is that really all the paper, printing, warehousing, handling and posting costs per single issue?
I put the question to my writers workshop last night. General consensus was that digital-only editions should be about half of a standard print product.
Of course, none of us are (yet) publishers. One will soon be a small one.
Also, this was very informal and off-the-cuff.
However, I think our general gut reaction is telling. Even if print/distristribution costs are only about 20% of a magazine's cost, the reduction from £24 to £19 sure doesn't seem like enough of an enticement for a product that you can only read on-line. There's something else going on psychologically.... Something along the lines of, if we (readers/subscribers) don't get something tangible, physical, that we can take to the beach or read in the bath, a 20% reduction in price isn't going to cut it.
But I'd love to hear your thoughts on this -- and see your math, if possible!
Calulating a fair price for e-books
Switch11's Kindle book cost analysis