This month our Smithsonian magazine came wrapped in a paper sleeve that says “Go Green.”
The marketing copy promises that any subscriber willing to quit getting the magazine and instead switch to a digital version will receive TWO FREE ISSUES.
The copywriters came up with nine reasons to dump the paper option:
1. There are those two free print issues.
2. Faster delivery than the print version.
3. Download anytime.
4. Less paper clutter. (Have they seen my coffee table?)
5. Adjustable font size for easy reading.
6. Advanced search capabilities.
7. Easy access to Web goodies.
8. Easy to search, share, and save (sounds like #6 again).
9. Help the environment.
I sympathize with the venerable Smithsonian, one of the best magazines out there. Surely they’re facing the same financial crunch every magazine is dealing with: declining advertising, declining subscribers, and rising print and distribution costs.
But it makes me wonder. Is Smithsonian’s print-to-digital special offer one we’ll see repeated at other magazines? Is this just a one-time move to siphon off screen-friendly subscribers, or part of a wider strategy to phase out the print version entirely? (Their FAQs don't say). Do those nine incentives make you want to switch away from paper?
The Smithsonian’s GoGreen campaign
Sample digital issue, link.