Free SLATE.

Free SLATE.

Free SLATE.

Policy made plain.
Oct. 19 1996 3:30 AM

Free SLATE.

(386 words; posted Friday, Oct. 18)

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Free SLATE
     As some observant readers may have noticed, our "Boilerslate" page declares that, while S
LATE is currently offered on the Web at no charge, "Annual subscription fees of approximately $19.95 U.S. will be charged beginning Nov. 1, 1996." We have decided, however, to extend the free period until February. (Exactly when in February is currently being determined by Microsoft's Astrological Affairs Division.) The main reason for the delay is technology: We haven't yet perfected a billing and registration system that is as painless as possible for our readers while at the same time, er, well, you know ... getting us the $19.95. Even after February, a small daily sampling of S LATE will remain free. But we remain convinced that charging readers is the only way journalism like S LATE can be viable on the Internet in the long term. $20 is a bargain, compared with the cost of traditional weekly magazines. This reflects the inherent economies of publishing on the Web: no paper, no printing, no postage. But, obviously, $0 is an even bigger bargain. So enjoy S LATE, with our compliments, for three more months.

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Michael Kinsley is a columnist, and the founding editor of Slate.