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I'm Sick of Subscriptions
And I bet you are too.
Hey there readers!
This will not be my typical Tuesday dispatch; instead, I’m going to explain some of the economics of this newsletter and why I’m making all of my content free for all subscribers moving forward.
The whole impetus of this newsletter was just to share my love of books and reading — it was never to turn it into a capitalist enterprise that would squeeze every penny out of my readers. I love books and have always had the impulse to share that passion with as many people as I possibly could.
Content on the internet first started monetizing via ads — allowing free access to periodicals that, in the past, relied on a combination of subscriptions and advertising. Folks who wanted to make money on their hobby blogs or perhaps even pursue a career in the nascent field of online media took up this tactic as well — and it worked swimmingly for a really long time.
But then people started clicking on fewer ads, because they weren’t novel anymore and were getting more snake-oily all the time. This was a problem because online ads rely on clicks, not just eyeballs. So, blogs and other outlets started adding even more ad spots to their sites; it quickly became really annoying — and still is, to this day. Think about how many ads you have to navigate just to read a recipe on a cooking blog.
So, in a predictable fashion, internet culture has swung the other way. Folks nowadays, myself included (and with hearty encouragement from platforms like Substack), are instead offering paid subscriptions to individual publications and doing away with ads entirely.
This was novel and exciting at first, but quickly reached a bit of a saturation point. I understand the advertising revolt, but I’m of the opinion that one or two well-done and vetted advertisements aren’t going to bother very many readers. What internet consumers don’t like is a barrage of garbage click-bait ads.
Between streaming services, traditional media outlets, and now individual newsletter subscriptions, I’ve become sick of needing to pay for a subscription to every single thing.
So, from here on, the entirety of Read More Books is going to be free to read. (The Friday newsletter has always been free, but Tuesday’s edition was a paid perk for a long time.) You can still purchase a paid subscription, but it’s now for no other reason than to say thank you. If you’re currently a paid subscriber, feel free to turn off your auto-renew — or not.
I know this goes against the grain of our current individualized, “monetize everything” gig economy, but I’m okay with that.
How to support Read More Books
I want all my readers to be able to access everything I’m doing here. As I said above, Read More Books is truly a passion project — I love this newsletter — and I don’t feel like charging readers in exchange for access.
That said, you can still choose to support this newsletter. Here are a few options:
Spread the word! If you enjoy the content, share it with your network via email and social media. I know a lot of you already do that, which means a lot to me.
Upgrade to a paid subscription anyway. You won’t get any “extras” besides knowing that you’re supporting the work I’m doing and have received some benefit from my newsletter.
Subscribe to The Big Read. My other bookish endeavor is called The Big Read, which is an online book club. It costs $5/month or $50/year to join and we go through 5-6 books per year. We’re just about done with The Count of Monte Cristo and will be starting East of Eden in November. This will remain a paid-only project; the cost there is for the sake of accountability and community.
Consider sponsoring Read More Books. Starting immediately, I’ll be offering a short sponsorship section in the newsletter. I won’t allow just anything, but for folks/companies who are interested and think they align with this brand, I have an engaged audience of over 7,600 readers. I’ll be offering a ridiculously low introductory rate of just $150/issue for the first couple of months as I’m in the experimental phase.
If you’re interested, please reply to this email or reach out directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks so much for reading and supporting my work over the years. It’s an honor and I continue to love the hell out of it each and every week.