I was catching up on my RSS feeds this morning when I came across a article in The Bookseller. This site only offers a partial RSS feed, so I clicked through to read the story. Ans that is where I encountered this:
That is The Bookseller's new paywall.
So far as I can tell it seems to be wrapped around all of their content.
Update: It turns out that the subscription is required for just the 3 items I wanted to read today, and not the rest of the site. (What are the odds?) To be honest, I threw in the towel after the third surprise block. As far as the RSS feed reader is concerned, the whole thing might as well be blocked. I cannot tell which stories are paywalled.
The subscription rates start at £186 for a 1 year paper/digital subscription. That includes shipping the weekly magazine anywhere in GB, so it's not that unreasonable. The paper subscription costs more for the rest of the world, and that's okay too.
But The Bookseller also offers a digital only subscription, and here's where things get ridiculous. They're asking £186 for the digital only subscription. That's far more than it's worth to me, so I won't be subscribing.
I don't write about paywalls much, but this one raises a particularly interesting point. First, Dilbert commented on this very story only yesterday.
Joking aside, let's consider for a moment why The Bookseller priced the digital and combo subscription at the same rate. They're propping up the print subscription, but why are they doing it?
My guess is that they did the math and concluded that print subscribers are worth more. I don't have their numbers, but I would bet this is true; print advertising is still a better income stream than digital subscription or digital advertising. (You would not believe how little Adsense pays.)
Still, that's more than I want to pay, so this is likely going to be the last time in a long while that I mention The Bookseller on this blog. The same is probably true for the active sharers on Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere. If our network of readers cannot see the story then there's not much point in sharing the link.
But I do plan to keep watching The Bookseller; I want to see if the drop in shared links will lead to The Bookseller getting less credit for breaking stories (that no one can see).