Friday, June 17, 2011

Studies in paywalls: Scientific American

In the many discussions of paywalls I read, everybody mentions the WSJ, but nobody mentions Scientific American.

You can read the print edition, which is discounted heavily through subscription management services, or you can pay $40 to get the online version. SciAm has been doing this since 2009.

It is frustrating for me. I'd love to write about the articles, but it's too much hassle to do that for a paper publication. The online version is costlier than a discounted print subscription, and I like the magazine, so I'm not willing to pay for digital.

It's frustrating for me, but it seems to work for them. Unlike Newsweek, which is about ready to fit a business envelope, SciAm is holding its weight.

How do they do it? Is it institutional and academic subscriptions?


oiojes said...

One of the frustrating parts of SciAm's approach is that subscription to the magazine gets you nothing on the pay part of the site. You get some (not all) of the print content on the site and some (not very much) of the site content in print. But you have to pay twice as much for both.

Consequently, I haven't paid for the site. I like the magazine.

JGF said...

Same here. I wonder if the online subscriptions are almost entirely schools. That might explain the pricing; they really don't expect anyone to pay the individual cost.