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Introducing Increment subscriptions (stripe.com)
89 points by rolivercoffee 5 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 56 comments





People have been saying "print is dead" for almost a century now, and somehow it hasn't happened.

I read an article a couple of months ago which stated that magazine subscriptions are up, and so is printed catalog distribution and sales from those catalogs.

Anecdotally, subscribing to Apple News only whetted my wife's appetite for the printed versions of the magazines she sees on her iPhone. She's since subscribed to the print versions of three of them.

We were at the rodeo one day and one of the magazines had a booth. I mentioned to the people from the magazine that my wife subscribed to their publication because of Apple News, and they said they hear that a lot.

Of course, I've also read that some publishers are not happy with the revenue cut they get from Apple News, so perhaps its not right for every publisher.


> I read an article a couple of months ago which stated that magazine subscriptions are up

Would love more context on this. Up from when? Up for whom? Which countries? The details matter in something like this.

"Print is dead" is hyperbole but I thought it was pretty established that print is struggling compared to the mid/late-'90s or mid-'00s. https://www.statista.com/statistics/184055/estimated-revenue...


Agreed. Also anecdotally, but I feel the same way with photographs. While digital photos are amazing and I never want to go back, I also really, really enjoy printed albums. Especially for photos of a trip or special event. I find it way easier to capture, remember, and re-tell the story by flipping through a book.

That's something I often tell people a bit unmotivated with their photography: Go and get some of your images printed! It's surprising how much of a difference it can make.

But isn't that sending them towards pulping and effectively killing the very nature that inspires their photography in the first place?

Paper is not effectively killing nature. Especially in the US, which is home to one of the largest paper-producing regions in the world.

Nearly (if not actually) all of the pulp required for paper comes from managed forests grown and harvested specifically to produce wood products over time. These tree farms are stable, not shrinking.


well, that’s not true.

“managed forests” produce high amounts of waste and take away arable land and natural habitat quite aggressively [1]. what you have said here is a common propaganda perpetrated by industry advocates on the web and is often passed on as gyan without any scientific basis or authentic study or source to back it up.

hell, even critical thinking is missing when people write comments like this!

kind of like lobsters were cheap prison food in 1800s story:

https://www.reddit.com/r/history/comments/emcx69/the_history...

[1]https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_pape...


Have you tried the book on Ladakh by Satie Sharma on the iPad? I loved it for exactly these reasons.

https://bubblin.io/book/ladakh-by-satie-sharma/1


Unrelated: I do a digital magazine too, people can download the PDF. I'd love to give the people to opportunity to buy a printed copy if they want to (and maybe do some profit on the side). I think that's a good SaaS idea: upload your magazine in PDF and let the startup do everything, from pritning to shipping, and get a cut on that.

This is mostly what Blurb (https://www.blurb.com) does!

Blurb is amazing! They printed a photo book that I gave to my fiancée when I proposed. Top quality printing and an easy to use app to create the book.

I was a co-founder of Newspaper Club (https://www.newspaperclub.com) (but left a few years ago). They do this sort of thing, such as printing internal and public papers for Facebook, Mailchimp and Spotify, amongst others.

We briefly ran a full online marketplace for individual copies printed on demand and shipped, with a revenue split, but it was too difficult to make the economics work.

However, if you need to print a few hundred copies and send them all round the world, I expect they can organise that.


Isn’t that the definition of a publisher? They publish your content in a chosen format and you get a cut of the profits? Either way, Amazon, for instance, has a service for publishing books.

My gut says that this must already exist.

I can't think of the name of the service, but yes it did exist around 2003ish. I don't know if it's still around.

Please introduce core missing features to billing and payments first before print magazine subscriptions.

The most obvious one to me: allow people to test their applications in production. Allow them to generate a temporary fake card number, expiration, and cv2 that Stipe can authorize as if it is real.

Allow you to generate and expire it from the console and via the API.

We had people on stripe's support team for 6 months tell us we can't test in production on real cards. We didn't want to, but we do have to test production check out flows, and currently the only way to do it is with real cards.

Someone senior finally told us "of course everyone tests production, you have to. Just nobody likes it. "

I would put out a call for at least 10 to 100 customer requested features first before a print magazine.

I think it's been almost 5 years since stripe has introduced a feature we actually wanted. I'm not trying to be a troll, but this super obvious payment testing thing really bothers me because 100% of customers who build apps for payments should be using it. And it's not built.


Aside from Stripe not doing what customers are asking for, there are very good reasons why fake cards in production is a really bad idea:

* the fake cards can leak, and your customers can start using them on your site. I'm not sure how you want to handle this. If this is production your code shouldn't have to be checking for card number patterns, and since you don't get the full card number anyway, I'm not even sure how you would.

* Part of your bookkeeping is that all production transactions are reported as income, both to your CPA and to the IRS / tax authority of your country. You're going to have a major headache trying to explain what's going on to the auditors. These fake transactions will forever be part of your audit trail.

* It'll screw up your reporting - your analytics, revenue, churn rate etc will be artificial, and you'll have a hard time getting people to trust them the moment it's even possible to fake those numbers with test cards.

We have a ticketing system, and yes we do use our own cards to buy low value stuff on production. We then trigger the normal return / complaint flows to get actual refunds back (Stripe doesn't charge you anything for refunds), so it's really no skin off anyone's back, and it does properly test both your purchase and refund flows fully.


I think more companies should create zines. But maybe not be so corporate about it.. like this... be more authentic. Very powerful culture building tool tho IMO.

Could you elaborate on what makes these feel corporate? The design seems really modern and polished to me.

"really modern and polished" strikes my tastes as corporate in the world of zines. Just my opinion tho, not trying to gatekeep.

zines are interestingly their own subculture that sparked out of sci-fi fandom and punk culture, so anything more "polished" than those origins is going to seem corporate by comparison. This is a pretty good article that gives something to compare to (https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/88911/brief-history-zine...).

Snapchat created Real Life Magazine (https://reallifemag.com) but other than that it doesn't have editorial control.

As mentioned elsewhere, Airbnb also publishes a magazine: https://www.airbnb.com/magazine

The Creative Independent is an example: https://thecreativeindependent.com/

*magazines

I don't know what the downvoters or the Parent think they're saying, but companies cannot produce "zines", by definition. Zines are produced by individuals. A company "zine" is a magazine, no matter how "cool" and lofi the layout.

Curious: Do people find value in reading increment? I've tried reading it a few times but have often found it to be too many words for too little deep insight. Would love to be convinced otherwise though.

Can anyone speak to the quality of the articles? Thinking about subscribing using my company’s “education allowance”.

You can see for yourself, the articles are free to read online: https://increment.com/

I wonder how many great marketing opportunities/channels are written off because they seem to deviate from the values of focus or frugality? And inversely, how many distractions are hiding under the cover of unconventional marketing? I genuinely don't know.

Airbnb did something like this back when I worked there. Not sure what came of it. I do remember seeing some copies of it sitting on coffee tables throughout the office.

It's still going, I see it on newsstands

I have seen so many of these magazines floating around I assumed there was a subscription already.

Is it just me or is it somewhat humorous that the checkout uses Shopify and not stripe?

I believe, Shopify ultimately uses Stripe for the payment gateway.

Man I wish they had a Kindle edition. Would so subscribe.

Yucks, more dead-tree printing. So much for the 'cradle of innovation' from Silicon Valley, lol.

Trees for paper are specifically grown to produce paper pulp. They’re not cutting down virgin forest.

You could argue it’s pretty monocultural but otherwise I don’t see much of s problem with it.


The overall manufacturing process pollutes quite a bit, doesn't it?

(I work at Stripe.) We've made sure the process is carbon-neutral from forest to page. (And the paper itself is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.)

That's great, but paper's pollution footprint is far larger than mere carbon output. There's so much focus on climate change that people forget a bucket of mercury is carbon-neutral but still not great to pour in a lake.

Someone elsewhere in the discussion asks for a Kindle edition; that'd be a great way to keep unnecessary paper down.


Strip mine the land for more minerals for more never-decomposing plastic devices with chemical batteries?

I'd rather have the dead trees, thanks.


I read my Kindle content on the smartphone I already own.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Of course you will prefer dead trees. There's money to be made isn't it? :-) Thanks, but no thanks!

1% or less of your carbon footprint is from your consumption of paper products.

https://twosidesna.org/US/our-carbon-footprint-how-do-paper-...


There's more to pollution than just carbon, and that's an industry advocacy group's website.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_paper

> discarded paper and paperboard make up roughly 26% of solid municipal solid waste in landfill sites

> In the United States the pulp and paper industry released about 79, 000 tonnes or about 5% of all industrial pollutant releases in 2015...

> Worldwide, the pulp and paper industry is the fifth largest consumer of energy, accounting for four percent of all the world's energy use.

> Wastewater discharges for a pulp and paper mill contains solids, nutrients and dissolved organic matter such as lignin. It also contains alcohols, and chelating agents and inorganic materials like chlorates and transition metal compounds. Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus can cause or exacerbate eutrophication of fresh water bodies such as lakes and rivers. Organic matter dissolved in fresh water, measured by biological oxygen demand (BOD), changes ecological characteristics. Wastewater may also be polluted with organochlorine compounds. Some of these are naturally occurring in the wood, but chlorine bleaching of the pulp produces far larger amounts.

> The pulp and paper industry is also associated with important emissions of heavy metals. In Canada, for example, this industry is the third source of lead (Pb) emissions to water[27] In the U.S., the pulp and paper industry is responsible for 9% of industrial releases to water.

and so on...

Even if the 1% number were fair/complete, combating climate change is likely going to involve a lot of small cuts rather than one or two big ones. Avoiding printing stuff we don't need to print is worthwhile.


You're right that it's about more than just carbon, and looking at it purely from a carbon footprint might be the wrong perspective. I was considering climate change to be the most urgent of our environmental issues and in terms of impact to climate change paper production is insignificant.

That being said, an individual reducing their consumption of paper based products is arguably the least impactful action we can take as a society.

Instead we should be focusing on the packaging industry's use of onetime use packaging for products, particularly those that are difficult or impossible to recycle (e.g. milk cartons, juice boxes, etc). This is not only a huge contributor to paper pollution but also micro-plastics pollution and landfill waste in general.

Greater Container-deposit legislation on more products (e.g. plastic bottles) and on limited use but highly recyclable paper goods (e.g. newspapers and magazines) would greatly increase the amount of recycling we do as well.


Yeah right, tilling arable lands and pulping more trees isn't a problem at all. Whatever happened to critical thinking.

> tilling arable lands and pulping more trees

So you're arguing against using crop land to produce a crop?


Why wouldn't one argue against unnecessary landuse producing more pollution?

I think you'd first need to prove that it's unnecessary.

Moving the goalpost much? Clever but not constructive at all.

Producing crop for food supplies is not the same thing as producing crop for transmission of blob of text. The former is critical for human survival whereas the latter is totally undesirable. Especially now that we have a well permeated web to distribute books on, we don't need anyone to sow or reap the trees anymore. Period.


How is that moving the goal post?

> Producing crop for food supplies is not the same thing as producing crop for transmission of blob of text. The former is critical for human survival whereas the latter is totally undesirable.

Do we need to produce more food? No, we have an over supply and producing more would only drive down prices and harm the producers who are already struggling and require subsidies. Proposing we produce more food crop farms is asinine at best.

> Especially now that we have a well permeated web to distribute books on, we don't need anyone to sow or reap the trees anymore. Period.

Suggesting that web delivery is a suitable or even complete replacement for books or printed literature is equally asinine. Conveyance of discrete data is only one small aspect of printed media. The experience of reading a book, magazine, pamphlet, or paper is entirely different from reading on an electronic device. Dissemination is also another critical difference, sure everyone can download your PDF but that doesn't mean they will. A magazine sitting on a coffee table in a waiting room is an entirely different experience from anything electronic and it is complete incomparable.


The average American's total paper consumption accounts for less than 1% of their total carbon footprint. So in terms of impact, you would reduce your carbon footprint more by going vegetarian 2 days a week than you would by entirely eliminating your paper consumption.

Do you use a bidet?

Swapping paper for water isn't much better for the environment long term.



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