Denver Post hikes single-copy street rack, newsstand price by 50 percent

Readers who buy The Denver Post one copy at a time had better start stocking up on those quarters. The newspaper announced Wednesday the price for its weekday and Saturday editions will jump from 50 cents to 75 cents starting Monday. The Sunday Post will continue to cost $1.50 in the metro area.

It’s the first time since 2006 the Post has increased the price for single-copy sales, when the cost of a Sunday paper jumped by 50 percent from $1. The cost of the daily edition has held steady since 2001 when it cost a quarter, the Denver Business Journal notes. Most readers of the physical Denver Post subscribe to the newspaper so won’t be affected by the price hike.

“Basically, it’s the increase in the cost of doing business and other economic factors,” a circulation executive said.

Those “other economic factors” could include the Post’s recently acquired monopoly position in the Denver market after the competing Rocky Mountain News shut down Feb. 27.

“Theoretically, higher prices for single editions could inspire some people to subscribe as opposed to buying papers one at a time,” Westword media critic Michael Roberts observes.

The Post has been working to hang on to paid readers since it became the only game in town. Two months after taking over the Rocky subscription list, the Post was distributing 17.4 percent fewer paid copies than the two papers had a year before, a Denver Business Journal analysis of the most recent circulation data available found. The CEO of MediaNews Group Inc., William Dean Singleton, said the Post wanted to keep 80 percent of Rocky subscribers when the tabloid-sized daily folded.

Falling newspaper circulation has been accelerating nationwide, with weekday circulation dropping by more than 7 percent in six months according to a report filed at the end of April, compared with a 4.6 percent decline for the previous six months. At the same time, traffic at newspaper Web sites jumped by more than 10 percent in the first quarter of 2009.

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Ernest Luning

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