Having signed up, you can tell us exactly what we all want to know: is the premium content Ev’s pushing actually worth $5?

$5 can buy you a brand new 500-page paperback. Is this at least the equivalent of a new 500-page paperback per month? (A good one, I mean — not the kind where you buy it and then grudgingly finish it because you don’t want to have wasted $5. A new Neal Stephenson novel or something.)

High quality print magazines charge about $5 a month, and when they don’t deliver, they lose readers. High quality print magazines have utility separate from their actual content: they can be used to swat flies or line bird cages, which a Medium subscription cannot. At the very least, in order for Medium to be worthwhile, it must be superior to all the high-quality print magazines to which you subscribe (and all the similarly priced magazines to which you don’t subscribe because of their poor quality).

$5 is not like one cup of coffee a month. $5 is like choosing to splurge on expensive cafe-brewed coffee once a month; you can make several months of coffee in your home coffee maker with $5 worth of beans. Does Medium deliver enough to satisfy the crowd that would rather get beans in bulk and have many months of cheap coffee they must prepare themselves than purchase expensive chain coffee?

What Medium is charging is about half of what Netflix charges me. I watch a lot of Netflix. I would expect to get at least half the enjoyment I get out of Netflix out of Medium’s premium content in order to make the subscription fee worthwhile.

This is a pretty high bar. Does it deliver?

Written by

Resident hypertext crank. Author of Big and Small Computing: Trajectories for the Future of Software. http://www.lord-enki.net

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