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Kent Christopher
(kentchristopher) - F

Locale: Madison, WI / Berlin, Germany
Backpacking Light Subscription Pricing on 12/05/2007 18:49:56 MST Print View

This could be considered off-topic, but I'll argue that BPL is a piece of gear you use to be informed about your future gear. Additionally, this happens to be the forum that the most current and potential future BPL subscribers visit (and may thus see and respond to this post).

The question: Does it strike you as being slightly out of touch that a subscription for the online membership of Backpacking Light costs the same ($24.99) as a subscription to the paper/print subscription when the latter obviously involves greater material production (and consumption of paper and petroleum)?

I was looking into an online subscription when I discovered this. Rather than voice my lone opinion in an email, I thought it best to open this to the public.

Kent

Steve O
(HechoEnDetroit) - F

Locale: South Kak
BPL Subscription on 12/05/2007 19:11:26 MST Print View

Hey man,
I just joined and all I can say is this: it's worth it!

The BPL staff put a significant amount of time (thus, $$$) into authoring their articles. This place is a library! If nothing else, the product reviews will save you $$$ because you will be less likely to get stuck with junk equipment.

Steve-O

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Backpacking Light Subscription Pricing on 12/05/2007 19:28:10 MST Print View

I've been satisfied with my membership. The reviews here are about as in depth as you will find anywhere else and they come fairly regularly. I don't think its out of line to pay the membership fee. This is the only subscription of any kind that I have, though I have thought about picking up the print magazine from here as well.

Adam

P. P.
(toesnorth) - F

Locale: PNW
Re: "Backpacking Light Subscription Pricing" on 12/05/2007 19:33:08 MST Print View

Adam, I was an online subscription only person and decided that I just HAD to have the latest print issue. It was great and, I felt, worth the extra cost. I now subscribe to both.

Mark Hurd
(markhurd) - M

Locale: South Texas
Re: Backpacking Light Subscription Pricing on 12/05/2007 20:36:43 MST Print View

Kent,

If you mean "Should the print version be more?" due to the costs involved, I would say you're probably right. As to whether the $24.99 is well spent on the online version I would definitely say: Yes! (Of course I keep renewing so I might have a bias.)

Steve-O has it right. I have saved several hundred bucks over the last couple of years because of the articles and reviews here. I've also picked up some pretty sweet gear that I would have never considered had it not been for this site.

I think the subscription to the online mag. is worth it.

-Mark

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
Re: Re: Backpacking Light Subscription Pricing on 12/05/2007 21:05:17 MST Print View

I'd also agree with Steve-O on saving $'s, but also note that technique and tips can be worth much more than the advice on gear.

Kent Christopher
(kentchristopher) - F

Locale: Madison, WI / Berlin, Germany
Clarification on 12/05/2007 21:05:38 MST Print View

To clarify, the question wasn't whether the $24.99 is worth it, but why it costs the same as the paper/print version when it no doubt costs less to produce and deliver. If you take that into consideration plus the fact that the internet subscription is also better for the planet we all like to go backpacking (light) on, I'd like to think that there should be some incentive for going with the online version - or disincentive for purchasing the paper/print version.

Kent

Michael B
(mbenvenuto) - F

Locale: Vermont
reviews on 12/05/2007 21:21:46 MST Print View

The reviews are in depth and very interesting. But currently I can't navigate to them and them seem to have eliminated any sort of organization to the reviews section. My guess/hope is that is a bug, but if it stays this way I will probably drop my subscription because currently I can't easily find the reviews I want to read.

Thomas Baker
(Shake_N_Bake) - F - M

Locale: WY
Backpacking Light Subscription Pricing on 12/05/2007 22:24:36 MST Print View

This is a possibility. I'll throw it out here for others to discuss.

The material presented in the online and print formats is separate and different. There are costs associated with the production of each. An argument could be made that producing material for the online version is ultimately cheaper. But the volume that needs to be produced is many times greater online than the print version which is published only four times a year. So the sheer volume more than makes up for the cheaper cost of producing and ends up making the subscription cots similar.

Just a thought.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Clarification on 12/05/2007 23:40:55 MST Print View

Not that I really know, but if one takes into account the total cost of running BPL (i.e. salaries, rent, equipment, financing, etc.) -- and not just the difference between online updates versus printing and paper -- then maybe the difference in total overall cost isn't all that big???

Another way of looking at it -- perhaps most of the cost is in putting the information together -- and therein lies the value -- versus the particular mode of delivery per se...

Edited by ben2world on 12/05/2007 23:42:28 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: reviews on 12/06/2007 01:51:52 MST Print View

> The reviews are in depth and very interesting. But currently I can't navigate to them and them seem to have eliminated any sort of organization to the reviews section. My guess/hope is that is a bug,

It may be that the switch to the new format was a little hasty. But rest assured, all the missing bits ARE being worked on now.

Cheers

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
sgin up today on 12/06/2007 07:06:50 MST Print View

>>>>
but why it costs the same as the paper/print version when it no doubt costs less to produce and deliver

Kent,

How is it that you have no doubt that the online version costs less than the paper product?

Do you even know if they are the same or different products?

Also, keep in mind that non-paying online members are subsidized by paying online members while it's highly probable that most of the paper subscribers pay for the paper product.

Just so you know, the paper version is a small quarterly publication and quite different from the online site which gracefully allows a free lunch to many due to its paying member support.

Sign up today for the online version! : )
Then you'll get a big discount on your paper version.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Paper vs. Online on 12/06/2007 13:30:15 MST Print View

We're actually looking at a few options for 2008, with the primary goal of increasing value for online subscribers.

1. Giving online subscribers access to a digital (web hosted) version of the print magazine as part of their online membership, while maintaining the two distinct editorial calendars of both products.

2. Combining print and online under one editorial calendar, which means more content for online subscribers, and syndicating something like a "best of last quarter" table of contents for the print magazine. This would still allow a print mag to exist but would have a different content focus ("best of" bpl.com) than it's current strategy ("different than" bpl.com).

3. Replacing the current form of the print magazine (all print and downloadable PDF articles) with an all-digital form of the print magazine (hosted web-based). Obvious environmental impact savings here on a per-subscriber basis but we lose the ability to spread the gospel to those who get fed primarily via print means in stores.

4. Some combination of the above.

I'd love to hear some feedback on these options. #1 and #2 would require a small increase in the online subscription fee (+$5 at the most), while #3 would offer a cheaper and more enviro-friendly version of the print mag to be purchased.

Ryan

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Paper vs. Online on 12/06/2007 14:00:28 MST Print View

I'm willing to pay $5 more for option #2.

"Combining print and online under one editorial calendar"

Gives onliners all the content. Don't have to wait for the print content. Also, BPL still has "the ability to spread the gospel to those who get fed primarily via print means in stores".

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Re: Re: Paper vs. Online on 12/06/2007 14:15:31 MST Print View

I must say, I've ALWAYS held the view (and been disappointed that BPL has yet to find a way to implement it) that online subscribers should have a way, through a marginal increase in fee, to have electronic access to the print articles.

It simply doesn't make sense, from a cost-to-produce or environmental-impact, point of view.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Backpacking Light Subscription Pricing on 12/06/2007 15:05:46 MST Print View

Hmmm...I bit the bullet this month and reupped for the year for the online membership but also for the paper sub, I look at it this way: $50 a year or so isn't bad and it is paying a paycheck to someone.

Having said that...I do like actually holding magazines and books in hand. There is something about reading real print.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Paper vs. Online on 12/06/2007 16:02:15 MST Print View

I would be willing to pay another $5 or so to have the print version made available to online subscribers. I don't really have a preference on which option is chosen, I will probably never opt to receive the print copy if the same content is available online. I find I don't ever read magazines enough to warrant having them lay around the house. I'll leave the deciding on what happens to the print magazine up to the people who it will effect most.

Adam

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
no more paper please on 12/06/2007 18:46:08 MST Print View

I wouldn't want a hard-copy at all, but I would like to be able to view the content. Living in NZ makes the print copy particularly uneconomical and environmentally unfriendly to deliver...

James Loy
(jimbluz) - M

Locale: Pacific NW
Keep the print version, at least as an option. on 12/06/2007 19:13:26 MST Print View

Not everyone lives where broadband internet service is available (other than perhaps, by costly satellite service). With dial-up service, it would take an excessive amount of time to download the print version, essentially making it unavailable to subscribers like myself.

Andrew Richardson
(arichardson6) - F

Locale: North East
Re: Paper vs. Online on 12/06/2007 20:31:38 MST Print View

Ryan:

If I have learned anything it's that the best choice is always a "combination of the above" That's why we all want a totally breathable windproof/waterproof lightweight shell! Sadly, it's always not as easy as it should be to combine everything. The sheep love the shepherd, but the wolves hate him.

Perhaps you can have four subscriptions as follows:

1. Super Ultralight Subscription: This subscription includes access to both the online magazine and a digitized version of the print magazine. It has the lowest environmental impact and provides the most information. $30

2. Ultralight Subscription: This subscription includes access to the online magazine. $25

3. Lightweight Online Subscription: This subscription provides access to the print magazine. Please recycle! $25

4. Lightweight Online/Print Subscription: his subscription provides access to both the Online magazine and the print magazine $35 or $40

So Ok..Maybe the "weight" of each subscription isn't perfect, but oh well..the kinks can be worked out later!

Edited by arichardson6 on 12/06/2007 20:32:18 MST.