Why does it cost three times as much to buy one article online from the New York Times as it does to buy a whole newspaper, on paper, in Norway? And it’s nearly six times the cost of an Australian newspaper. Do American newspapers cost a fortune, or is the online price of a single article totally out of proportion here? US $2.95 for an article hardly counts as a micropayment…

6 thoughts on “macropayments

  1. Jason

    No – American newspapers aren’t terribly expensive. Weekdays generally run 25 to 50 cents, with the Sunday paper usually settling in around $1.50. I imagine the NYTimes probably thought “Hey, we sure don’t make enough money from actually selling the paper, so let’s charge people for doing research!”

    Then again, it could be that such pricing is consistent with what they would charge were you to request a print archive copy. I’m not sure. Likely, they priced high in the beginning (and stuck with it), figuring that – like taxes – it’s easier to lower a cost than raise one.

    Personally, I think it’s a bit much, which is why I try to copy the text of any article that I think is interesting before it falls under the “archive” date.

  2. peter

    I think that is good value

  3. Liz

    Supply and demand. If you’re looking for a specific article, chances are you have a higher demand for it, and will pay the higher price for the value. (You’re also subsidizing the development and maintenance of the searching and archiving of content, I suppose.)

    Not that I like it…but I understand why it would be more expensive to get the specific archived article than it would to buy the paper. (And reading the online version is free, an even better deal than the print version.)

  4. Jill

    So does the NYT only want me to pay to read that article I linked to above because it’s not today’s article? But today’s is free?

    Yes, reading today’s online edition for free is indeed, cheap, but surely US$2.95 for a single article’s rather hefty – that’s almost a whole beer, even in Norway 🙂

  5. comeon

    When you know your target audience have spent a thousand bucks to “read” your content, instead of paying 2 bucks for it, you know they would have the money to pay for more.

    Barnum’s called it “a sucker’s born every minute.”

  6. chris mcconnell

    Jason is correct about most papers, but NYTimes is a little more expensive: 75 cents in the city and $1.00 outside for daily editions. The Sunday edition is like $3.50-$4.00, whatever it is, it’s way too expensive for me. Its pretty standard for papers to charge for archives: I suppose they assume that they won’t lose any readers by charging for old content, but they can gain some revenue from the readers that *really* want that old story. I use my university’s Lexis/Nexis subscription when I want to read recent old articles like that.

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