Are we still being taxed by the New Scientist for being in Australia? It appears so, but not if you go electronic only through Zinio.
A few years ago I wrote about why I was not subscribing to the New Scientist – basically thanks to their charging a completely unjustified premium to Australian audiences. Having just got their latest subscription offering, I thought it might be time to take a look at whether anything had changed in four years. The short answer is basically ‘sort of no, but with a twist’
It’s actually remarkably hard to find New Scientist subscription prices from various countries (what a surprise). And even when you do it’s hard to get a like-on-like comparison. For example the Australian site insists of giving me a subscription offer for 12 issues: Those 12 issues represent three months and there doesn’t appear to be an annual price beyond doing the maths for yourself. That does raise the interesting point that an annual subscription in the USA or the UK gives you 51 issues. Just multiplying the Australian quarterly offer by 4 only gives you 48 issues – so presumably if you want all 51 issues you’re going to have to subscribe 5 times in a row to get the overlap. The price just got even more expensive.
In Australia, also, you cannot just subscribe to the paper copy. In other places the electronic versions do not come as obviously bundled. All that said you can draw some conclusions.
In Australia getting a print plus web subscription costs A$320 (for 48 issues). A similar subscription, for 51 issues, in the USA costs A$203 and in the UK between A$173 and A$261. Now to be fair there will be some justification for a price differential when print is involved (because of economies of scale in the printing) so this isn’t a perfect comparison. But being a little less fair it’s hard to see that level of differentiated pricing as being justified.
The good news
There is good news though.
The only way I can see to get a comparison of purely online delivery is through Zinio. And the good news there is that the annual pricing is almost identical between countries. In Australia it’s A$112 for a year, in the US it’s US$84 which at current exchange rates is A$110 – and in all cases the price covers 51 issues for the year.
So the cheapest and most effective way to get a subscription seems to be to go electronic through Zinio.