What’s this about?

The solution to new media isn’t in charging readers to read. So we give two free articles a day, then ask our most frequently reading readers to pay only $2/month. If they don’t want to, they can come back tomorrow and read two more articles, free. Additionally, our weekly newsletter offers free articles above and beyond the two article limit.

The solution to nurturing the regrowth of quality journalism and art in a new media context, however, does seem to be finding a creative way to keep publishers alive and pay writers and artists based on reader enthusiasm, a la Threadless or Kickstarter.

So this Tip Jar is simply an opportunity to pay for what you value. As with a book, the publisher, distributor and author all split the purchase price (your “tip”). When you buy a $15 book, the book store (distributor) typically takes 50%. The publisher takes 35%, and the author gets 15%—about $2 per $30 book. Not much. Still, enough to make many writers a decent living. In this case, however, elephant is both distributor and publisher—so we’re able to give our authors 3.5 times as much as they make in the book publishing industry—we split your purchase price 50%, 50%, the definition of fair. Authors should be able to make more writing for elephant, if they’re consistent and connect with an audience, than they do writing for magazines or newspapers (which are hard to write for, often).

So elephant’s staff gets 50%, the author gets 50%. And suddenly your gift—even if just $2—is helping to create paid jobs in journalism within a new media context, raising the consistency and quality and diversity of our offerings to you.

$108 for a lifetime membership—if you live another 50 years that’s just $2/year 🙂