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Post Watch: Washington Post to Increase Newstand Price

In just a year, Post doubles newsstand price—is it still a bargain?

The Washington Post is going to ask readers to pay more for less.

On Monday the cost of buying the daily newspaper will rise to 75 cents per copy, an increase of 25 cents.

The Post also has told staffers that it will shrink the size of the paper and use a thinner paper stock to help with rising paper costs.

A year ago, the Post was the least expensive major daily in the country. Last December, for only 35 cents, you could pick up a copy and read Tom Shales skewer a TV show or Dana Milbank poke fun at a senator or Dana Priest uncover government malfeasance.

Last December 31 the Post raised its daily newsstand price to 50 cents; now it's going to 75 cents, according to a note to shops and markets from Post circulation director Mike Towle.

Based on the Post's newsstand sales, this price increase would raise about $35,000 a day in new revenue.  

While the Post has more than doubled its newsstand price in one year, it still is among the least expensive major daily newspapers. Gannet’s flagship USA Today raised its price from 75 cents to $1 on December 8. The New York Times charges $1.50 a copy, and the Wall Street Journal retails at $2.

The Post, like every big city newspaper, is searching for ways to cut costs and increase revenue. In a letter to staff this week, publisher Katharine Weymouth wrote about the need for “fundamental changes to our business culture.” She added: “And we must realign our cost structure to match this strategy. This realignment of our cost structure must be fast.”

Raising the cost of the newspaper might increase revenues—“fast”—but Post staffers worried about what Weymouth and Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli had in mind for reducing costs.

In meetings after Weymouth’s letter hit the newsroom this week, editors said vacant slots would not be filled. There are no immediate plans for another round of buyouts, but Post executives would not rule out the possibility of layoffs.

What do you think? Will you pay 75 cents for a copy of the Post? Tell us your thoughts on the price increase in the comments. 

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