The Cost of Digital?

august 20, 2007

A few months ago, when I went to subscribe to Linux Journal, I saw that they had a digital format available.  I could either subscribe and get PDFs only; or subscribe and get a physical issue mailed to me through snail mail.  I wanted to go digital only -- so that I could save them from having to print something (and kill trees) and also get my issue earlier.  But, I ended up getting the print subscription.  The reason?  An idiotic  pricing scheme where the digital subscription is the same price as the print subscription. I do not understand the reasoning for pricing a digital subscription the same as a print subscription.  The overhead of a print subscription, I would figure, is much higher than a digital one.  With the print subscription, they have the cost of printing, binding and mailing out an issue every month.  With a digital subscription, the overhead is the cost of the bandwidth to distribute a PDF.  That's not to mention that with the print subscription, I get early access to the issue in HTML format on Linux Journal's site.  That in itself would defeat the purpose of paying for the digital PDF subscription -- reading an HTML version is a lot easier than reading a PDF version.  Sure, I lose out on the fancy formatting, but the readability (everything is flowed in one column, instead of two) is much better. I just find it ridiculous that Linux Journal would charge the same price for digital vs. physical.  Idiotic business decision in my book.