Longform journalism site Longreads, which curates long stories from around the web that are “best enjoyed away from your desk,” has started offering paying members “exclusive access to stories that aren’t available anywhere else on the web, produced by the best publishers and writers in the world.”
Longreads offers membership for $3 per month or $30 per year and until now the only perk has been the good feeling that comes from supporting the site. In addition to exclusive content, members will “have the chance to recommend future Longreads Member exclusives. Tell us what you want to share with your fellow members (it can be a story, an excerpt, or something completely different), and if we like it too, we’ll find it and feature both you and your pick.”
“Our paid membership is still relatively small compared to the size of our overall community,” Longreads founder Mark Armstrong — who is also the editorial director of read-it-later service Pocket — told me, “but it’s grown enough over the past year that we wanted to start sending more perks to our members as a thank-you.”
The first exclusive is chapter six from Charles Duhigg’s bestselling book The Power of Habit. Longreads is licensing the chapter from Duhigg’s publisher, Random House, and will license future exclusives as well.
Other websites are also experimenting with content perks for paying members. My colleague Mathew Ingram recently wrote about tech commentary site Techdirt, which gives paying readers early access to blog posts, as well as other membership benefits.