Well, this isn’t the Merry Christmas our readers were looking for, but I’ve got to spill the beans.

After the first of the year, subscribers will see a price increase. Now, before you threaten to send three ghosts to visit me in the night, hear me out.

First, of course, this isn’t just a Sawyer County Record decision, it’s regional, for all of our papers.

As you’ve noticed, the amount of advertising on the printed page has been decreasing over the years.

It makes no sense to me, of course, because our readership hasn’t really decreased; it’s remained steady over the past eight years or so. Everyone crashed a bit in 2008, but then for us it leveled off. Which means that the reach our advertisers get with their advertising hasn’t changed, really.

And although the ad copy has gone down we still do our best to cover all the news you need in our community, which costs money. We pay employees, we heat the building, we pay for paper and we pay lots of postage. And postage costs will soon be increasing for us.

It’s a matter of balancing revenue and expenses to stay in business. Period. And we’re at a point where our subscription prices have remained stagnant for a number of years, at least for print subscribers, so it’s time to raise the rates.

We’ve always had a multi-tiered subscription model, pricing out-of-the area subscriptions at a higher rate, but this really doesn’t make much sense because postage costs are pretty much the same, no matter where we send.

Going forward, we’ll just have one price, no matter where the subscriber lives.

For those who have been paying the out-of-market rate the increase is small. For those of you paying the local rate, it’ll be more noticeable.

The price for subscribers will still be a little less than buying the paper at the newsstand.

There’s nothing I can really say to make this easier to take, but I hope you understand that although we provide a vital community service, we are also a business and businesses can’t operate at a loss. If they do, they disappear.

And we don’t want to disappear. And we know you don’t want us to disappear.

We are (I believe) the longest-continually operating business in the area, starting in 1893 and never missing a beat, offering a product that will still be under $1.50 per week. I think that’s something to be proud of. (Grey’s Barber Shop may be older.)

You’ll first see the increase when you get your 2021 renewal or next billing, whenever that is.

Subscribers should watch the mail in the near future, however, for an offer that will give a break for re-subscribing for another year.

Thank you for being part of our readership family, and our continued success.

(Copyright © 2021 APG Media)

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