The following tweet popped up in my time-line this morning (11th March):


In case you can't read that, the tweet is by Tom Hamilton (@thhamilton) the text is

All these people complaining that an article is behind a paywall, god forbid that anyone should ever recommend them a book.

I quote-tweeted it as the start of a 8-tweet thread on the paywalling of newspaper articles:


In case you can't read that, and for posterity, here is that thread as posted (with the thread numbering removed):

  1. Addressing the paywall complaints side of this tweet. If I go into a shop and buy a newspaper, I would pay approximately €2. For that, I get access to – perhaps – 100 articles. Coming in at 2¢, I would be happy to pay that on an article-by-article basis. I get my daily
  2. news from approximately 40 different sources across the internet. Combined, these sources publish approximately 200 articles or posts per day. However, I read – from start to finish – maybe 5-10 of them, and scan through around another 30. Even if I am charged for
  3. accessing each article at the rate of 2¢, my daily news-reading cost would be less than €1. Perfectly reasonable. In fact, I'd be happy to pay twice that on a daily basis. But… no news site that I am interested in accessing is running a charging model that would support
  4. my reading habit, and from my perspective, this is a bloody-good reason to complain. Taking 1 newspaper as an example, @irishtimes, if I don't purchase a subscription, I can access no more than 5 of its articles per week. If I buy the most basic subscription they offer, I
  5. would pay €3.50/week to access all its articles. Yet, I read 3-4 of its articles each week, and scan-over another 10. That's 25¢ per article accessed, even if it's marketed at me as a rate of 0.5¢/article. If all the sites I access for news charged me the same rate (and
  6. assuming I was prepared to pay), my news-reading habit would cost me €140/day, which would result in a per-article, or per-post, access cost of approximately €3.50 each. Again, a bloody-good reason to complain about paywalling. I have heard and read a whopping amount of
  7. commentary over the years about how people's expectation of free access to news is killing the publishing industry. I'm calling bullshit. If you charge reasonably, you'll get paying readers. If you're not prepared to respect your readers, then you should have no
  8. expectation of being paid.