Someone commenting on the blog today (the Ubuntu! post, if you want to read it) is concerned by my decision to sell the magazine (the first edition will be free; after that Prim Perfect will sell for for $1o Linden, $2 of which will go to charity). He believes that this will have a detrimental effect on the number of readers I might have, and suggests that instead I might consider having a tip jar, or giving free advertising and reports on the projects I wish to support.
This was my response:
I believe that a low cover price will achieve several things:
1) It will enable me to give a certain amount of funding to Ubuntu – a fixed, definite sum based on my sales. Rather than people just leaving money in a tip jar, which is a little vague, they know that by buying the magazine they will be part of a larger project giving money to Ubuntu.
2) This magazine is probably not aimed at the absolute newbies. It’s aimed at a variety of audiences, but the starting point is people who are ready to buy/furnish their own home. This is a couple of steps on from the people who don’t have any money.
And it’s a pretty negligible cost. You could earn it with less than an hour in a camping chair. In real world terms, it’s 4 American cents, 2p in British money and less than 3 European cents. This is not a vast sum of money – nor a vast investment for people who are going on to spend a sum perhaps several hundred times or even a thousand time greater on their new home.
3) I could give free advertising or coverage of projects of my choice – but then it would move away from being an interior design magazine. Its focus would be elsewhere. There may well be a need and even possibly a market for such a publication in SL. But Prim Perfect isn’t it.
I should say in passing, perhaps, that there will be a regular section in the magazine where readers can learn about Ubuntu and the projects we’ll be supporting. But this will be a small part of the magazine.
4) I do need to generate a variety of revenue streams for Prim Perfect. Although I do love it, I am spending serious amounts of working time on it, and so are other people who are coming together as a team. They are making a financial investment in it, for our time really is worth money. In addition, relying on advertising is all very well, but it does lay you open to the charge that you are supporting your advertisers at the expense of talented designers out there who can’t afford to buy advertising. And that’s the case even if you do support the work of new and unusual designers. Charging a cover price, even a low one, demonstrates a measure of independence.
5) If people are really, really determined to get their Prim Perfect fix without buying the magazine, they can always keep reading the blog! That is supplied entirely for free.