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S&T international price gouge?

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#1 Marty0750

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 10:15 PM

I am really loath to bring this up but I cannot get an answer from Sky and Telescope since the AAS took over the publication. I just get stonewalled.

 

The digital annual subcription to US customers is...

 

image(2).png

 

 

Andf for an International customers is now...

 

image(1).png

 

 

Before the takeover both US and International customers were able to download the digital issues for the same subscription price. Digital = no mailing, printing costs. Now Internationals are paying nearly twice the price. Wondering what is the justidication for this?

 

Martin


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#2 sunnyday

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 10:22 PM

I'm glad to see that canada is not an international destination, but it's still $ 59.95 american for us ....



#3 TOMDEY

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 11:14 PM

That's pretty severe to accuse the AAS of international price gouging. There's a milder word that fits the bill, but eludes me... sounds like... xenon or Phobos, or Uhhh... just can't think of it!    Tom



#4 edwincjones

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 04:40 AM

That's pretty severe to accuse the AAS of international price gouging. 

I understand paper but why would digital be any higher for international?

 

edj


Edited by edwincjones, 01 October 2020 - 04:41 AM.

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#5 sanbai

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 06:26 AM

My only guess is that there is an agreement with a distributor of the printed version abroad, so it does not jeopardize its sales.

Anyway, it's outrageous. That's asking people to get creative. Not difficult to envision different "solutions".

It's cheaper to gift a paper subscription to a US local library and get the digital version out of it. For example.

I bet they would get more subscriptions and revenue if the digital subscription costed the same everywhere.
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#6 edwincjones

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 04:50 AM

my guess is that one of the conditions of AAS buying S&T was that the publication at least would break even

 

edj



#7 TOMDEY

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 09:25 AM

I understand paper but why would digital be any higher for international?

edj

Whatever the market will bear. It's an entirely discretionary purchase... not like oil, gas, food, shelter, or clothing. So they logically increase the price until profits max out. In that sense, free-market pricing is unrelated to cost of production. No different than the costs of labor, works of art, sneakers, Smart Phones, Ageless Male Placebo... whatever the market will bear. And you just know that a USA based company will charge a stiff premium to foreigners for the privilege of enjoying the product. The American Astronomical Society is ... American!

 

So the only question becomes... is it worth it to you? Some (admittedly few) people would buy it at a thousand dollars a year!    Tom



#8 sanbai

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 10:05 AM

Whatever the market will bear. It's an entirely discretionary purchase... not like oil, gas, food, shelter, or clothing. So they logically increase the price until profits max out. In that sense, free-market pricing is unrelated to cost of production. No different than the costs of labor, works of art, sneakers, Smart Phones, Ageless Male Placebo... whatever the market will bear. And you just know that a USA based company will charge a stiff premium to foreigners for the privilege of enjoying the product. The American Astronomical Society is ... American!

 

So the only question becomes... is it worth it to you? Some (admittedly few) people would buy it at a thousand dollars a year!    Tom

Giving americans the privilege to enjoy S&T makes no sense to me from a business perspective unless AAS is aiming to subsidise astronomical knowledge in their country of origin. In that case, being profitable wouldn't be a goal anymore. [it would not be in tune with a recent editorial either...]

 

Sending digital content outside abroad has the same cost as sending it to the neighbour's house. Then, why not sell more? It has only benefits!

 

AAS professional journals seem to have the same price for everybody. Adobe's photography subscription costs around the same here and in the EU, and they provide local support. If selling digital content abroad causes some kind of tax bureaucracy nightmare, then you simply don't sell at all. I don't think so, because the sale takes place in the US in USD. I don't think national tax bureaus are willing to investigate who is reading S&T in a tablet and haven't paid VAT for it.

 

Thus, the only reason I see is an agreement with overseas distributors or, as Tom points out, there's still enough people that can pay more for it. So, if more than half the current international subscribers are willing to pay double, then it's a wi$e movement. Probably their audience abroad is small and interested enough to allow that. Not that sure that would work with the US larger base of customers.



#9 TOMDEY

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 01:33 PM

It all makes sense, when we reluctantly realize that self-interest drives all decisions, even/especially the ones presented as altruistic. Each Corporation's (and by extension, charity, government, church, club, art, performance) actual prime directive is self-preservation/promotion. All the Vision/Mission statements, magnanimities, donation solicitations, sob-stories... are rooted in preservation of the org and advancement of the officers.

 

And there's nothing wrong with that, or in accepting that reality. It's just the way we humans are wired. All the rest is simply sociological posturing... for advantage. The kind of thing that Ayn Rand celebrates!  Just think of the AAU as John Galt... to be admired, not condemned.    Tom

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#10 Tony Flanders

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 03:02 PM

It all makes sense, when we reluctantly realize that self-interest drives all decisions, even/especially the ones presented as altruistic.


In my opinion, that is a very counterproductive way to view the world. And one that requires extreme contortions to match to reality.

 

Selfishness and altruism are both inherent human traits -- and no doubt both necessary for survival. At a purely personal level, selfishness leads to sorrow and frustration, while altruism leads to fulfillment and joy.


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#11 PEterW

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 04:45 AM

Probably still a small fraction of what many amateurs spend on kit and gasoline a year. Magazines are still a good way to attract new members and gives some fresh information for those of us who spend too many hours in forums ;-) !

Peter
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#12 junomike

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 07:49 AM

IMO it's the missed revenue they generate with the hard copy that they're trying to make up.

So they probably made about $15 more profit on CDN (hard copy) subscription and $30 more profit on International (hard copy)

Because they "need" this profit regardless the cost is passed on to the digital version.

 

What you don't see is the shipping savings that THEY keep, thus furthering their profits.

Seems to be the way the world is nowadays......



#13 jp071848

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 07:53 AM

There was a post by Sean Walker of S&T in another thread in this very subforum, regarding the reason why they increased their prices. He basically said they raised their pricing to match that of Astronomy magazine "... which has been higher than ours for several years."

 

Problem is, when you compare S&T's pricing with that of Astronomy, S&T clearly charges a higher rate for Canadian subscribers over US subscribers, and even more for international subscribers for their digital only product, while Astronomy magazine seems to charge the same for any subscriber, regardless of location.

 

Advantage S&T as they offer the digital product in PDF format, while Astronomy requires the use a a dedicated reader app through Zinio. I don't believe Astronomy can be downloaded and read as PDF, though if anyone knows a way, please share.


Edited by jp071848, 03 October 2020 - 01:42 PM.


#14 edwincjones

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 09:56 AM

It all makes sense, when we reluctantly realize that self-interest drives all decisions, even/especially the ones presented as altruistic...........

 

And there's nothing wrong with that, ............

 

Really    question.gif

 

edj



#15 TOMDEY

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 12:38 PM

Really    question.gif

edj

Alas, a Catch-22. If they were to lower the price, only to benefit their fellow man, that would be charitable. But, if that then makes them feel better, about themselves... it could actually be a near-occasion of selfishness. At least that's how the nuns explained it to us kids. In that sense, charging more than enough may actually be the safest approach. As the ancient philosopher once said, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Give a man a magazine, cheap... and you're being selfish."

 

I then became a newspaper boy, and had to deal with that moral dilemma, on a daily basis! I became the John Galt of paperboys. No free newspapers. I deliver; you pay... plus a generous tip, or it might habitually land in a puddle. That was my unspoken motto; they caught on quickly... kind of a protection racket.   Tom

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