Monday, March 11, 2013

Forbes tries new tactic to please print readers wanting their tablet edition – a discounted upgrade price

Forbes Magazine has updated its iPad app today and introduced a new upgrade program for print subscribes. Readers can now gain access to the issues inside the iPad app Forbes Magazine for an additional charge of $9.99.

The new discount program may be entirely new as I searched for a Google cache version of the app and found that last month the app description made reference to a $10 charge for print subscribers. But that price is a bit odd since Apple charges things in $0.99 prices (so the new in-app price is $9.99). It's possible that the magazine was going around the App Store with the old pricing scheme, but now any print reader who wants to upgrade their account to access the iPad version can do so as an in-app purchase.

Like many publishers who have chosen to charge print subscribers for digital, the most frequent complaint inside the App Store is from readers unhappy with the subscription policy. "Wow, never expected not to be able to get iPad version which I bought my print subscription. Let me know when you get with the program," writes one reader inside the App Store.

The screenshots used in the app description only feature covers instead of what the reader will find inside. This has been a source of trouble with readers, as well, since the app is essentially a replica edition with links added.

Ironically, the latest issue of Forbes is its "Billionaires" issue. Maybe the way to go here isn't to lower the price of the subscription but raise it – you know, make the app one of those things only the rich can access. Seems like the kind of thing Forbes would approve of.