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LA Times Raises Newsstand Prices

Via our anonymous-tips website widget came this correspondence December 4: “LA Times increases street price 50%… Not one mention of it anywhere on the Web. WHY?”

Well, partly BECAUSE this is not the kind of thing the LA Times or any other major daily likes to trumpet with a press release. But on behalf of this faithful reader, we checked in with an LAT spokesperson who kindly confirmed the full details:

“The single-copy price increase went into effect on December 3 for the daily (Monday-Friday) editions and this past weekend for the weekend and Sunday editions. It affects only the single-copy prices for the print editions sold at news racks and retail locations: $1.50 for daily, $2 for weekend or Sunday.”

“There isn’t an increase to rates for subscribers, or members. Those rates vary depending on frequency and we’re currently offering a free four-week trial of digital membership as well as print and digital membership packages that are more cost-effective for readers. For instance, our “Sunday Unlimited” membership package includes home delivery of the Sunday print edition, the daily e-edition (digital replica of print delivered via email) and unlimited access to latimes.com. As well as additional member benefits such as early access to select stories, special access and offers for live events and exclusive discount offers – for $1.99/week ($15.92 for 8-week subscription).

It makes sense. Casual white collar readers who want a hard copy for the commute or coffee shop are likely to be far more willing and able to pay a higher price. Although based on FishbowlLA’s experience, places like Starbucks need to do a better job of policing patrons who treat newspaper sales racks more like a lending library.

Update – 12/12/12: We heard from another reader after publication. John Walsh suggests that the LA Times is adding insult to injury by allowing customers to pay at some vending boxes with a credit card:

“Not all of the new street vending news machines are credit card friendly. There is a redlining plan of action here, where non-white neighborhood placed machines don’t have the new-fangled credit card attachment. Credit card option stations are installed exclusively in wealthy enclaves.”

We’re not sure about that, but actually the credit card option again makes sense. Who the heck these days when walking around has laundry money jangling around in pockets anymore?

[For all non-anonymous tips, queries and complaints, please use the email address fishbowlla@mediabistro.com]

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