Buying a Tablet – $ Analysis

Posted: August 19, 2011 in Personal Whining, Philosophical Debris

As I’ve written in the past, I love my Kobo and currently do most of my pleasure reading on it.  The one thing that doesn’t get read on it is the plethora of magazines that get delivered to my house every week.  I am a bit of a magazine addict, and you can’t get them on an e-reader.  Even if you could, most of them are b&w, so the attraction of the magazines would be lost.

Macleans, Rolling Stone, Outdoor Photographer, Adbusters, -you get the general idea.  The magazines pile up on shelves and fill recycling bins, depending on whether they are judged worthy of archiving or not.  I’d love to be able to relegate them to the world of the e-reader as this would not only be more convenient, but also more environmentally friendly.  As with newspapers, I look at all that wasted paper and energy for delivery and think that there must be a better way.

Ad so I’m thinking about buying a tablet like an i-Pad or a Playbook.  Most magazines have e-versions which can be downloaded to tablets.  Do I want to buy a tablet that might run me $500 in order to read magazines?  I don’t know.  That’s the question I’m struggling with now.  I know that the tablet will undoubtedly expand its use to encompass other functions.  I also know that what I potentially save by subscribing the the e-versions of magazines might save me a lot of money in the long run, not to mention being more convenient.

One of the advantages of the Kobo is the price of e-books.  With a few exceptions, they are priced at about half of what you pay for the physical copies.  Older paperbacks are around $5 – $6.  New books, available only in hard cover and selling in the stores for around $30, usually are obtainable from Kobo at around $15.  That’s as it should be, since the book is being sold without the need of paper and retail store.

For magazines and newspapers it is mostly similar, although it could be better.  The Toronto Star and Globe and Mail get delivered daily to your door for about $30 a month.  The e-subscription is about half that.  The problem arises when you look at the delivery price for the special introductory offers, which often last a year.  Then the prices are about the same.  The e-price, though, is not an introductory offer, but rather the standard price.  In the case of magazines, Macleans, Backpacker and Outdoor Photographer all have an e-price which is about half of their physical subscription price.  Again, there are introductory incentives (and professional incentives) which reduce the difference considerably.  I presume that all of these incentives are designed to expire in time, so that the publishers can benefit from their full subscription prices.  The exception seems the be Rolling Stone, who’s e-price is actually more than the advertised subscription price.

Saving $20 – $30 per subscription, per year is a strong incentive to go ahead an purchase the tablet.  It would at least partially pay for itself in short order.

Now the question is, which one to buy…


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