How much would you pay a year for access to content found exclusively online?
Would you ever pay an annual subscription fee to read a blog? A newspaper? A magazine? Does the publisher matter or is content the only important king?
Here’s what I pay for online access to a few of my favorite daily reads. I do not receive a hardcopy version of these publications even if they exist.
New York Times Select
I pay around $40 a year for “exclusive access” to some online New York Times content and it is not worth the extra money. The “TimesSelect” content is ordinary and uninteresting. I would pay $1,000.00 a year to read Frank Rich every day but he only publishes once a week on Sundays.

New York TimesSelect Logo


The Wall Street Journal
It costs me $80 a year for access to WSJ.com
and it is worth every cent. I do not generally agree with the editorial
purchase of the newspaper, but the writing is excellent and the insider
angles on the how and why of businesses operate is invaluable in
shaping a context of a world I do not innately understand. It is also
good to get into the other side of my mind I don’t consider much: The
conservative and money-at-all-cost thought processes.

Wall Street Journal Logo

Editor & Publisher
Yearly access to Editor & Publisher runs around $90 and I enjoy every moment of the experience. E&P is gossipier and snarkier than the National Enquirer. You can also get trends analysis on publication plans and you can track the careers of editors you admire.

Editor & Publisher Logo

Salon
I pay $35 a year for premium, advertising-free, access to Salon Magazine.
I read Salon every day. It refreshes and fulfills me. The writing is
superb. The new blog entries appear to be a lame attempt to keep
content current, so I skip over that fluffery. Joe Conason and Camille
Paglia helped build Salon‘s intellectual pinnacles and I have been inspired by them and I have been with them every moment of the construction.

Salon Logo


Here are some online entities that I paid for and then quickly asked for a refund.
The hype did not live up to the content…
The New York Sun
The New York Sun wants $35 a year for online access and while
I really enjoy their article titles, their vicious conservative bent in
the body of their writing ruins the experience if you are at all
fair-minded and even-keeled. I tried reading the newspaper for a week
before I had to call it quits and recall my subscription fee.

New York Sun Logo

Variety
I think an online only subscription to Variety
costs around $200.00 a year and I had a special half-price offer I
decided to take. I immediately regretted the decision because Variety
has its own impossible syntax and grammar and it is irritating and
juvenile to try to read if you care anything at all about the English
language. When a newspaper has a glossary to try to help you figure out
what the writers mean it is time to run away with a refund. The Variety.com
site also kept mocking me by disremembering my username and password
and I quickly tired of being denied access even though I had already
paid them. They are shuttered while I am still shuddering!

Variety Logo

Adding
it all up, it looks like I pay around $200.00 a year for online content
to four publications. That’s a lot of money for a lot of inspiration. I
don’t regret any of that money spent and I will renew all my
subscriptions.
What online subscriptions for content do you currently pay for and why
did you decide to pony over your hard-earned dollars? Will you
re-subscribe when your term is finished?

49 Comments

  1. I don’t subscribe to anything like that and believe me I spend more than enough time on the internet without doing any subscription reading. The magazines I subscribe to are People (not proud of it exactly since it’s so tabloid), Premiere (love reading up on upcoming movies), Real Simple (I keep thinking it will make me more crafty at home or something) and Jane (I see it like a more edgy Cosmo). Nothing really impressive I’m sure but there is my response 😀

  2. I don’t subscribe to anything like that and believe me I spend more than enough time on the internet without doing any subscription reading. The magazines I subscribe to are People (not proud of it exactly since it’s so tabloid), Premiere (love reading up on upcoming movies), Real Simple (I keep thinking it will make me more crafty at home or something) and Jane (I see it like a more edgy Cosmo). Nothing really impressive I’m sure but there is my response 😀

  3. I don’t pay to read anything online either. I don’t think I’d have the time to devote to it to get my money’s worth. I have subscriptions to Self magazine and Health magazine, and I have a couple of month’s worth still sitting in the plastic in my home office.

  4. I don’t pay to read anything online either. I don’t think I’d have the time to devote to it to get my money’s worth. I have subscriptions to Self magazine and Health magazine, and I have a couple of month’s worth still sitting in the plastic in my home office.

  5. If I have access to those magazines online I’m not aware of it but I like reading People and Premiere at the gym. I think it could be possible for me to subscribe to something online but it would have to be something really special. I’ve found though I can get most information from blogs I follow. I try to limit all I do online because if I stare at the computer screen day in and day out I swear I’m going to go blind soon. I once got really depressed and all these things were wrong with me physically. I went to the doctors and the 1st thing she asked was how many hours a day I was in front of the computer because it can cause a lot of problems. So I try to do as much reading off the computer as I can.

  6. That’s an interesting response, Robin. At least your father is an eye specialist so if you have any trouble he’ll be there for you! That’s strange how being on a computer can make a person sick. Is your online reading done via an LCD screen or a tube monitor?

  7. That’s an interesting response, Robin. At least your father is an eye specialist so if you have any trouble he’ll be there for you! That’s strange how being on a computer can make a person sick. Is your online reading done via an LCD screen or a tube monitor?

  8. If a blog is online, how am I going to read it when I’m offline. It’s impossible! 😀
    I think I’m always in front of the computer. I’m laying out newsletters and calendars all day then I go home and surf online and write on my laptop in the evenings. I suppose it’s no wonder that my eyes have gotten worse!

  9. Well, my computer at work is an eMac, so the monitor is attached. My laptop at home is a iBook. It’s not that my eyes have gotten REALLY bad, but I do think they are worse than they were four years ago, when I first got glasses.

  10. I believe that very soon we will all have to pay to see almost anything online. It’s just the way of the (online) world. I honestly don’t know how much I would be willing to pay yet. I read Salon Magazine with the ads and the ads don’t really bother me. Salon Magazine is wonderful. We have a subscription to Reader’s Digest from my Father-in-law and I get a kick out of reading it. Other than that, I read music articles in the publications from the various local, national and international Suzuki Music groups to which I belong. I’m a lifetime member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas. I found a few of the articles from American Suzuki Journal online for free with no ads here. However, I enjoy sitting back on the couch and reading my ASJmagazine when it comes. Then I leave the magazines on the coffee table for my student’s parents to look over when they come for lessons. It’s like a dentist’s office (only with less pain). 🙂

  11. I believe that very soon we will all have to pay to see almost anything online. It’s just the way of the (online) world. I honestly don’t know how much I would be willing to pay yet. I read Salon Magazine with the ads and the ads don’t really bother me. Salon Magazine is wonderful. We have a subscription to Reader’s Digest from my Father-in-law and I get a kick out of reading it. Other than that, I read music articles in the publications from the various local, national and international Suzuki Music groups to which I belong. I’m a lifetime member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas. I found a few of the articles from American Suzuki Journal online for free with no ads here. However, I enjoy sitting back on the couch and reading my ASJmagazine when it comes. Then I leave the magazines on the coffee table for my student’s parents to look over when they come for lessons. It’s like a dentist’s office (only with less pain). 🙂

  12. Well since I can’t be online much at work a lot of the time (especially with yours) I copy it and paste it in word to read when I get a moment. I used to do data entry which can make anyone go insane.

  13. Carla — Just remember to rest your eyes a lot. Close them for a few moments sometimes. Keep them from drying out.
    suzanne — Ah, I think you’ve hit upon, it suzanne! We will soon be paying for everything we read online as soon as the publishers can move us away from paper and on demand 24 hour broadband is the rationale that will make it all happen. Content online is always alive and always searchable and available and you don’t have to buy ink or cut down any trees to publish! That is what Salon did best when they started — they were online only — and I know they’ve had a hard time of it but that’s the price you pay for blazing the way in the dark as a pioneer. I have tons of hardcopy subscriptions I pay for as well but I prefer reading online instead because if I find something good I can copy and paste it and save it for later. With hardcopy I dog-ear a page and hope I don’t throw away the magazine before getting back to my bookmark!

  14. Carla — Just remember to rest your eyes a lot. Close them for a few moments sometimes. Keep them from drying out.
    suzanne — Ah, I think you’ve hit upon, it suzanne! We will soon be paying for everything we read online as soon as the publishers can move us away from paper and on demand 24 hour broadband is the rationale that will make it all happen. Content online is always alive and always searchable and available and you don’t have to buy ink or cut down any trees to publish! That is what Salon did best when they started — they were online only — and I know they’ve had a hard time of it but that’s the price you pay for blazing the way in the dark as a pioneer. I have tons of hardcopy subscriptions I pay for as well but I prefer reading online instead because if I find something good I can copy and paste it and save it for later. With hardcopy I dog-ear a page and hope I don’t throw away the magazine before getting back to my bookmark!

  15. Sometimes you have to sneak around.
    What I usually do to try to do a little blogging when I shouldn’t be is I copy and paste a post into word. I then read it when I can and write up a response in word. When I get another chance I post the response. See the trouble I go through for your blog 😉

  16. Sometimes you have to sneak around.
    What I usually do to try to do a little blogging when I shouldn’t be is I copy and paste a post into word. I then read it when I can and write up a response in word. When I get another chance I post the response. See the trouble I go through for your blog 😉

  17. Nothing… it’s hidden, and all you see are the other windows I have open. Then when I want to bring the window back up (and the coast is clear), I go to the dock and click on the hidden window.

  18. I don’t pay for any online newspaper or magazine subscriptions because most of the content can be found for free in one form or another. Yahoo news provides a lot of content for free and often without the need to sign up with the newspaper.
    I wouldn’t mind having online access to the WSJ, but I can’t justify paying for it since someone at my office gets the paper delivered.
    I do have some work related online subscriptions, but I usually look at the printed form rather than the online version since the paper format is usually more visually pleasing. In this age of HTML, so many publications insist on using plain text in their online email reports. It’s harder to read than the printed format that usually arrives in the mail a week or so later.
    I don’t know if most people will pay for content on the internet since they are used to free content. I don’t mind seeing ads if I’m not paying a subscription fee.
    I do mind having to sign up to read a free publication because it means I’m setting up some sort of account that I will use only a few times. (I probably have three or four accounts with the NYT because I can never remember my username or password).
    I pay a subscription to my local newspaper, even though most of its content is available online for free. I find that it is nice to look online to get a list of the stories in the edition, then read the printed format.

  19. I don’t pay for any online newspaper or magazine subscriptions because most of the content can be found for free in one form or another. Yahoo news provides a lot of content for free and often without the need to sign up with the newspaper.
    I wouldn’t mind having online access to the WSJ, but I can’t justify paying for it since someone at my office gets the paper delivered.
    I do have some work related online subscriptions, but I usually look at the printed form rather than the online version since the paper format is usually more visually pleasing. In this age of HTML, so many publications insist on using plain text in their online email reports. It’s harder to read than the printed format that usually arrives in the mail a week or so later.
    I don’t know if most people will pay for content on the internet since they are used to free content. I don’t mind seeing ads if I’m not paying a subscription fee.
    I do mind having to sign up to read a free publication because it means I’m setting up some sort of account that I will use only a few times. (I probably have three or four accounts with the NYT because I can never remember my username or password).
    I pay a subscription to my local newspaper, even though most of its content is available online for free. I find that it is nice to look online to get a list of the stories in the edition, then read the printed format.

  20. Carla — Very cool! Thanks for sharing that tip!
    Chris — I am surprised you don’t subscribe to more online news avenues. You seem like an information junkie, but if you already have access to the hardcopy version then I can see how the online version isn’t as appealing or convenient for you. One advantage to my online subscriptions is that I can get instant updates when news breaks — so in that way the news finds me instead of me having to hunt it down. I, too, use Yahoo! news feeds and I read them all throughout the day. I agree plain text is just plain ugly — that’s another place where WSJ.com really shines. Their HTML format is terrific and I get an HTML-linked version or a PDF version of their entire newspaper every day. I also set up my own “front page” with them that gets beautifully formatted for me every day. I also have them tracking trends and certain businesses for me in an easy-to-read graphical setup.

  21. I don’t know how on earth I missed this post…… Though I am a bit late for this I would like to add….
    Right now as I have access to my school library and I almost live there (one librarian suggested me to carry a sleeping bag once!) I don’t pay anything for any kind of subscription right now. But once I am out of the school I will surely pay for Harvard Business Review, Harvard Education Review, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, The National Geographic and The New York Review of Books. The question is for online version or for hard copy? Doesn’t matter.
    Do I go by the publisher or the content? The above mentioned list might suggest that I go by the publisher but if I come across something interesting and worth spending time even if in a tabloid I won’t hesitate to spend for it – that might not be a continuous process though!

  22. I don’t know how on earth I missed this post…… Though I am a bit late for this I would like to add….
    Right now as I have access to my school library and I almost live there (one librarian suggested me to carry a sleeping bag once!) I don’t pay anything for any kind of subscription right now. But once I am out of the school I will surely pay for Harvard Business Review, Harvard Education Review, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, The National Geographic and The New York Review of Books. The question is for online version or for hard copy? Doesn’t matter.
    Do I go by the publisher or the content? The above mentioned list might suggest that I go by the publisher but if I come across something interesting and worth spending time even if in a tabloid I won’t hesitate to spend for it – that might not be a continuous process though!

  23. Hi Katha!
    You are lucky you are in school and you have lots of access to deep information as part of your studies. Many schools offer alumni access to electronic resources — I still have library and database access in person and online from Columbia University — and that’s a great help!
    I love your selections for post-school subscription purposes. You have excellent reading taste!
    Subscriptions can get expensive, but they do pay off in knowledge won and information remembered.