New Yorker Launches Digital Edition; Free To Print Subscribers

imageAt first I thought the ad in last week’s New Yorker was a mirage, a promise of a digital edition that would arrive when the magazine was published — not a week later like the print edition. And when the post-registration response was a promise to let me know when the first edition was ready, let’s say I didn’t hold my breath. Turns out the wait was much shorter than expected: the first web-based digital edition arrived in my inbox late yesterday and I finally had the chance to open it today. Exactly as promised, it’s the complete print New Yorker in digital format. (Yes, I know some of you are anti-replica but some people want the magazine experience online.) Much of the magazine already appears online but timing varies to encourage newsstand and subscription sales; the cartoons are all online via CartoonBank.com. The New Yorker couldn’t provide anyone to talk about it today but here are some details:

— Despite the full-page ads offering a free four-week subscription or free access to current print subscribers, in-house, this is considered a beta and a soft launch. A one-year digital-only subscription runs $39.95, the same as the print promotion on Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) now but more than some other print offers.

— It’s searchable and comes with full access to the complete New Yorker archives dating back to February 1925. Pages can be printed but the issue can’t be printed intact — or downloaded — as far as I can tell.

— Delivery is promised “first thing Monday morning” before it hits most newsstands and mailboxes.

— In addition to containing all the print ads, the digital edition itself currently is sponsored by Chevron as a “special promotion.”

— The sign-up process for current subs needs to be streamlined. Those without a customer service account have to sign up for that first and then go through a separate process for digital access.

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