One brick removed from Harper’s Magazine paywall
Non-subscribers can now access one article per month before bumping up against the magazine’s paywall
The paywall at Harper’s Magazine got ever so slightly more porous today when the editor, Ellen Rosenbush, announced that casual readers entering their website will now be able to access one issue for free before bumping up against the paywall.
“Beginning today, Harper’s will offer everyone the opportunity to read one article from the magazine each month on our website, Harpers.org,” Rosenbush wrote today. “Our philosophy—that high-quality writing demands (and deserves) a paying audience—hasn’t changed. We already offer first-time subscribers a free issue when we solicit them through the mail. But we recognize that many readers will also appreciate the chance to sample our stories online.”
The move comes after the magazine’s latest publisher’s statement showed the magazine at a circulation of 137,785. The statement from the previous year showed a circ of 175,630. The rate base is now at 125,000.
The magazine also is not doing well with digital edition circulation, with digital subscriptions at 1,382, falling from 5,538 in its December 2013 statement. One problem may well be that Harper’s doesn’t discount digital; another may be the uniqueness of its app; and finally, there is the fact that just about everyone is seeing their digital edition sales through Apple falling.
Harper’s has been publishing since 1850, founded by the ame NYC publisher, Harper & Brothers, that also founded Harper’s Bazaar. In 1965 the magazine was spun-off and became a division of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune Company, owned by the Cowles Media Company. In 1980, that publisher said it would close the magazine but Harper’s was saved when the Harper’s Magazine Foundation was established thanks to an intiial $1.5 million funding.
The magazine has struggled to maintain its readership in print, though, as circulation has gfallen 40 percent in the last decade.