Magazines Use Digital Editions to Ramp Up Pricing

Cosmopolitan readers can get their first year’s subscription to the print magazine for $10. But if they want the digital edition on their iPads, they will have to fork over $19.99.

That’s a pricing maneuver so bold it may make even Cosmo readers blush. In the book and newspaper industries, digital versions are typically cheaper than print ones. But some in the magazine world are going the other way, charging more for their digital versions.

Buffeted by declining advertising, which accounted for about 75% of their revenue historically, magazines are turning to tablet computers and digital editions to boost circulation revenue. In doing so, they are hoping to reset decades of subscription discounting so deep that a year’s supply of magazines like Esquire currently costs just $8.

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