Saturday, December 13, 2008

Newsstand price rising for two papers

Posted by Craig Kanalley on 12/13/2008
If you haven't heard, a copy of Gannett's USA Today now costs $1 daily and the Washington Post is jacking its paper up to 75 cents a pop. Both price increases amount to a quarter more than they were previously.

The USA Today price increase was announced Friday, Oct. 10, but it didn't officially take effect until Monday, Dec. 8. The Washington Post change will happen on Monday, Dec. 15.

Harry Jaffe of the Washingtonian brilliantly coined this lede to describe the latter change: "The Washington Post is going to ask readers to pay more for less." Literally. He says "The Post also has told staffers that it will shrink the size of the paper and use a thinner paper stock to help with rising paper costs."

While newspapers scramble for revenue, this curious change won't go unnoticed. In an economic recession, when everyone - everyone - is affected in some way and pinching pennies more than normal, that quarter could make all the difference in the world.

At a time newspapers should be trying to draw a higher readership, this seems to be pushing people away. People aren't stupid. Your papers are shrinking, your staff is being slashed, and everyone is looking for bargains these days - yet you raise the price. It just doesn't make any sense.

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