The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Goodbye, Globe (no really)


I finally cancelled our subscription to the Globe & Mail yesterday. But not, as you might imagine, because I can read it for free online. No. I cancelled our subscription because they are unable to deliver it before we leave for work in the morning.

I am actually willing to pay for the convenience of having a newspaper delivered to my door by 6am (even if I am subsidizing that newspaper’s free website) — just like I’m willing to pay music and movies I like (and for books without ads inserted into them FYI) — because I think that service and quality have a value, and that journalists, artists, and writers should be able to make a living.

I’m less willing to pay for a newspaper that is delivered late and is out-of-date — and largely uninteresting — by the time I look it 12 hours later.

Now, I appreciate that losing one newspaper subscriber is not going to keep the CEO of CTVGlobalMedia awake at night. He’s too busy worrying about the internet. But, newspapers, and publishers for that matter, are mising the point. The internet, e-books, social media — they really are not your problem.  Taking your readers for granted – THAT is your problem.

Newspapers and publishers have been able to get away with being so utterly complacent about their consumers because, for years, readers had  no alternative. But now they do. And too often the newspapers that are printed and the books that are published — and way they are delivered — are not good enough for people to want to pay for them because there is more interesting and convenient stuff elsewhere.

Newspapers and publishers: If you want to survive, stop wringing your hands about digital content — That debate is over bar the shouting. Start respecting your readers. Provide them with something they’re willing to pay for. Delivering my newspaper on time would’ve been a start.

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  2. For one year I subscribed to home delivery of the Saturday edition of the Globe. It arrived on time and wasn’t stolen, almost all the time.

    The problem? It cost more to have it home delivered than to buy it on the newsstand.

    The Globe charged readers more (taxed them) for guaranteeing a purchase and giving them the money directly and up front.

    So when it came time to renew the subscription and I’d missed a few copies because we’d been out of town, it was easy to decline.

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  4. Hey James. You’re right, the Globe’s subscription rates are not great — it costs about twice as much as a subscription to the Toronto Star. That’s kind of hard to justify if they can’t provide the service they promise (guaranteed delivery before 6am) and can’t rectify the problem when it’s brought to their attention…

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