For Now, iPad Magazine Issues and Subscriptions Will Cost More Than Their Paper Equivalent

Apple priced digital downloads lower than CDs. Amazon said a digital book should be cheaper than a paper one. But for the time being, virtual magazines will cost a pretty penny, says Fortune.

The story by Phil Elmer-DeWitt quotes PopSci editor Mark Jannot defending his $5 an issue current price, and $30 per year proposed subscription price, both above the going rate for the equivalent paper product:

We're trying to make our readers not feel like we're slapping them in the face...but we're going to continue to be aggressive about pricing. We'll see what the market will bear.

As much sense as this makes, it flies in the face of the philosophies that have been foisted upon us.

Fortune's own parent company, Time Inc., is mentioned here too, guilty of offering a $5 per issue cost that mocks the 35 cents that subscribers pay for the paper copy. In his own separate blog post, Time's Josh Quittner explains:

The app offers 100% of the print magazine, plus photo galleries, video and other iPad-only goodies. While the pricing was not my decision, and I opposed it, I was wrong: It turns out to have been a smart move.

Like it or not, it makes sense. There's a new mantra in town: If people will pay, why give it away? [Fortune; Netly]