The Last Print Newspaper? Don’t Bet on Bezos and the Washington Post

A May 8 post pointed out that Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, after buying the Washington Post in October 2013, has been relentless in asking readers to pay more for it—home delivery of the Post has gone from $366 a year to $703 a year. I suggested that the Bezos strategy seems to be let’s make the printed paper so expensive that one day everyone will be happy reading the much cheaper digital Post and I’ll no longer have to buy all that damn paper.

I tweeted a link, saying, “Like the paper version of the Washington Post with your morning coffee? Jeff Bezos wants to cure you of that.”

Politico’s Jack Shafer responded: “Newspapers everywhere have been jacking up the subscription price. At least Bezos puts something 0f value in his paper.”

Who’s jacking up the subscription price?

Home delivery of the Chicago Tribune: $155 a year. Boston Globe: $207 a year. Seattle Times: $164 a year. Dallas Morning News: $363 a year. Miami Herald: $193 a year. Los Angeles Times: $259 a year. Baltimore Sun: $233 a year.

The Wall Street Journal has stayed more premium priced: One year is $328, an introductory rate which is 30 percent off the regular rate of $469 a year.

New York Times home delivery is $756 a year in Manhattan, $$951 a year in Washington.

So the Washington Post under Bezos, after years of Don Graham keeping its sub price low, has doubled its price and caught up with the New York Times.

It’s on the digital side where Bezos really wants Post readers. The digital New York Times costs $3.75 a week or $195 a year. The digital Post has a list price of $195 but is heavily discounted. If you’re a member of Amazon Prime, you get it free for six months and $99 a year appears to be what most people pay.

Give Bezos a few more years and the printed Post likely will be ten times as expensive as the digital Post. And if you want to guess who will publish the last print newspaper, bet on the New York Times and Wall Street Journal lasting longer than the Bezos-owned Washington Post.

Comments

  1. Print: Perhaps one should cancel their home delivery for 30 days and then start up again. You will get a “We want you back” offer in the mail and can check off “YES, I want to save up to 85% on the home-delivery rate!” And you will only pay $93.08 for 52 weeks of 7-days-a-week home delivery — a far better price than $702.78!

    Digital: After cancelling the print edition, you may find that the Post forgets to cancel your digital access and that you continue to get your digital version not for the customary $99/year or for an Amazon Prime subscription but at no cost at all! This happens more often than you, and evidently the Post, seem to realize. Some things turn out to be forever free, if not intended to be.

  2. I read almost everything online, newspaper-wise. I do have a print weekend subscription to the Post because it was cheaper than digital access only (and included digital access).

  3. I tried to find out what a subscription to USA Today would cost. They have promotions on social media offering three months of USA Today for $15. When you click on the offer, they want you to sign up for the three months, agreeing to be automatically billed, and tell you that after three months you will pay “the regular rate.”

    On May 9, I emailed the offer, asking, “What’s the regular rate?”

    On May 11, USA Today sent this:

    Dear Valued Reader,

    Thank you for contacting the USA Today. So that I may better assist, please provide your account number or the name, address and phone number associated with your subscription.Sincerely,

    Lanora M.

    Account Specialist
    USA Today
    http://www.usatodayservice.com
    1-800-872-0001
    —–
    The USA Today website offers three months for $25, then $90 for the next six months and $225 a year thereafter.

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