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Men's magazine Esquire has joined the throng of publications experimenting with online paywalls, asking readers to pay a $1.99 fee to read a feature from its August issue called The Prophet.
Ad Week's Emma Bazilian says it is the first time Esquire has made such a request of its online readership. The 10,000-word Luke Dittrich story -- about a neurosurgeon named Dr. Eben Alexander who wrote a bestselling book about claiming to see God during a weeklong coma -- was a perfect peg for the magazine to try a fee, editor-in-chief David Granger told Ad Week.
“We spend a huge amount of time and effort and money on chasing a story like this," he said. "We wanted to see if we could get people to pay for it. They pay for it in the magazine and the iPad app, so we thought we’d give it a shot.” (Esquire readers can also buy e-books of stories from the magazine’s archives, published in partnership with Byliner.)
So far the purchase rate among readers is 3 to 4 percent, Bazilian writes.