As digital content continues to rise in popularity over the years, it is assumed that convenience and cost are the main drivers. Even though print can be flashy and heavy, requiring physical transport, doesn’t mean it always cost more. This basic assumption has led to a flawed logical process — if online is virtually free, with the marginal cost of every additional copy approaching zero, we could demand information for lower and lower prices once we eliminated print editions. The Geyser brought this interesting topic to our attention in their article, “Why Digital Expenses Continue to Rise.”

After you get past what is known as “first copy cost”, each subsequent issue wasn’t very expensive to produce. Most of the expense was in everything that preceded the first copy — the editorial office, the business operations, the production facilities, the overheads like finance and human resources, and other costs.

Some academics still don’t understand this and seem to have the impression that print was and is expensive to produce and distribute.

Melody K. Smith

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