USA Today announced Friday it will raise its newsstand price by 25 cents to US$1, in order to compensate for rising newsprint costs, the Associated Press reported in an article, posted by Yahoo! Finance.
The 33 percent price increase could affect the highest-circulation paper in the United States more than the same type of hike would affect the other two national papers, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, because USA Today relies on single-copy sales more than other two titles do.
The New York Times lifted its price by 25 cents in August, while the Journal did so by 50 cents in July.
Even after the increase, USA Today's newsstand price will still be lower than $1.50 for weekday editions of The New York Times and $2 for the Wall Street Journal, the AP reported.
The price increase, which takes effect on Dec. 8, will not affect home delivery rates or distribution agreements with hotels. About one-third of USA Today's sales are in hotel-guest copies, according to the AP article posted on Yahoo! Finance.
USA Today's senior vice president for circulation, Larry Lindquist, said newsprint costs are at a 12-year high. Further increases are expected later in the year.
"We remain confident that the continued strong demand for USA Today from consumers, and our price relative to our competition, means that the marketplace will support this adjustment to our newsstand price," Lindquist said in a statement, the AP reported.
The price increase could generate more revenue for USA Today if circulation doesn't fall drastically as a result. However, according to the AP, "it's not likely to offset completely the losses it's seeing in advertising."
The publisher in August reported its ad revenue declined 13.5 percent year-over-year.
USA Today surpassed the Journal as the top-selling paper in the United States in 1999. Its current weekday circulation is 2.28 million, slightly lower than a peak of 2.34 million in 2004, the year the title increased its newsstand price from 50 to 75 cents. However, USA Today has not seen circulation drop as much as other large dailies, according to the AP article, posted on Yahoo! Finance.
According to Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at the journalism think tank Poynter Institute, many newspapers have been cutting back on newsprint use, partly because there are fewer ads to run. However, "newspaper price increases may be inevitable as advertising drops and papers find the cost of newsprint up 20 percent from a year ago," he added.
Newsprint prices have been increasing because most of it is produced in Canada, where the currency has been rising against the U.S. dollar until recently. "The newsstand price increase makes sense, but it puts the burden on the publishers to make sure there's that much value in the paper," Edmonds said, the AP reported.