VARESE March 24, 2023- In February 2020, Spain’s leading newspaper, El País launched its metered paywall and subscription. Readers get 10 free articles a month before being prompted to subscribe for €10 per month.
El País closed out 2022 with more then 266,000 paying subscribers — 227,000 of whom opted for digital-only subscriptions, according to the paper’s parent company Prisa.
More and more news outlets continue to turn to their readers for support, and that often means diversifying offerings beyond just the news. With the intention of building community for its subscribers outside of journalism, last November El País launched its first reading club. In five months, the club has grown to more than 1,100 members scattered mostly throughout Spain and Latin America.
Any paying subscriber can join the reading club. They get added to the subscribers-only Facebook group where they can talk to El País journalists, the authors they’re reading, and each other.
According to Andrea Nogueira Calvar, the editor leading the Facebook group, staffers at the paper’s culture section and its weekly arts and literature supplement Babelia had been kicking around the idea of a reading club for several years. But the demands of the daily news cycle and the day-to-day needs of the newsroom always pushed the idea to the back burner.
Reading or book clubs are hardly a new concept, though who did it first is debatable depending on the parameters you use. Some of the first records of American reading groups date back to a ship heading to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1634. Today, reading groups exist in a variety of formats (hello, BookTok and Bookstagram) and can be organized by genre, location, or other shared values, identities, and interests. In the United States, having your book chosen by Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon’s book club is a near-guaranteed way to become a bestseller. National news outlets like the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and others all have their own book clubs and reading communities. (from www.niemanlab.org)