Dec 5, 2007 at 5:49 pm #1226139
@kentchristopherLocale: Madison, WI / Berlin, Germany
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.
KentDec 5, 2007 at 6:11 pm #1411397
@hechoendetroitLocale: South Kak
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-ODec 5, 2007 at 6:28 pm #1411401
@aroth87Locale: Missouri Ozarks
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.
AdamDec 5, 2007 at 6:33 pm #1411402
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.Dec 5, 2007 at 7:36 pm #1411418
@markhurdLocale: South Texas
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.
-MarkDec 5, 2007 at 8:05 pm #1411422
@eaglembLocale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
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.Dec 5, 2007 at 8:05 pm #1411423
@kentchristopherLocale: Madison, WI / Berlin, Germany
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.
KentDec 5, 2007 at 8:21 pm #1411425
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.Dec 5, 2007 at 9:24 pm #1411435
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.Dec 5, 2007 at 10:40 pm #1411444
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
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…Dec 6, 2007 at 12:51 am #1411450
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> 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.
CheersDec 6, 2007 at 6:06 am #1411460
but why it costs the same as the paper/print version when it no doubt costs less to produce and deliver
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.Dec 6, 2007 at 12:30 pm #1411504
@ryanLocale: Northern Rockies
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.
RyanDec 6, 2007 at 1:00 pm #1411514
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".Dec 6, 2007 at 1:15 pm #1411517
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.Dec 6, 2007 at 2:05 pm #1411522
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
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.Dec 6, 2007 at 3:02 pm #1411535
@aroth87Locale: Missouri Ozarks
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.
AdamDec 6, 2007 at 5:46 pm #1411557
@retropumpLocale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
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…Dec 6, 2007 at 6:13 pm #1411561
@jimbluzLocale: Pacific NW
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.Dec 6, 2007 at 7:31 pm #1411574
@arichardson6Locale: North East
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!Dec 6, 2007 at 7:33 pm #1411575
I signed up, then realized it just gives me a discount for the articles…I still have to pay for them.Dec 6, 2007 at 10:06 pm #1411602
Andrew's 4-tier idea isn't bad. I can imagine that there are people who fit in each of those categories. I can definitely see how someone who is used to magazines would prefer the print subscription, but for myself, when we're talking about aspects of the magazine like the gear reviews in particular, I'd rather have all the information accessible on the web. A lot of the companies who make the cooler gear under review are companies whose products are primarily ordered through web-based stores anyway. I did find some Golite clothes in a store recently, but have yet to see anything by Integral Designs, Montbell, or Rab in any stores around where I live. I think that people similar to myself who have to order a lot of this gear through online retailers can appreciate having BPL product reviews and other gear related articles streamlined, as it were, all in one place.
That said, it occurs to me that for a lot of the other articles, the ones that focus on techniques and other non-gear related philosophy, these might be easier to read on a physical sheet of paper because many of them are longer than the average gear review and can contain some fine points worth re-reading several times.
Tricky topic, consolidating vs. doing away with the print magazine…Dec 6, 2007 at 11:22 pm #1411607
@marti124Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
I subscribe to BPL and the print magazine now and I too would like to for, say, only $5 more per year, to have access to the electronic version of the same magazine, as one other suggestion. Right now, I have to pay the same fee for a digital copy of an article as someone who does not subscribe to the print version which I do not think is fair.
People who subscribe to Audiofile (a magazine for audiobook lovers) get both the print version and digital version for the same subscription cost. You are able to read the digital version before the print version gets to your house if you happen to catch the email with the reminder (sometimes I do not).Dec 7, 2007 at 6:46 am #1411631
"I subscribe to BPL and the print magazine now and I too would like to for, say, only $5 more per year, to have access to the electronic version of the same magazine, as one other suggestion. Right now, I have to pay the same fee for a digital copy of an article as someone who does not subscribe to the print version which I do not think is fair."
So, you want an added #5 – Heavyweight, subscription? ;)
Just kidding, I can understand why you, as a Online/HardCopy subscriber would like access to e-versions of the mag. It's a better way of archiving articles you want to check out later.
PS – I like the 4-5 tier approach.Dec 7, 2007 at 6:59 am #1411635
@ryanLocale: Northern Rockies
I like giving people options.
However, at some point, I have to ask the question that providing so many options may create confusion among people who simply want to "subscribe".
I'm cautious about having the "light and simple" message we are trying to propose for wilderness travel not reflected by other aspects of our lives, including the business model here.
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