Paul mentioned this the other day, but I have a little more to say about the Wall Street Journal's iPad edition pricing.

In case you missed it, getting the WSJ on your iPad will cost you $17.99 per month. That's $4.15 a week, or $215 a year.

For comparison, you can currently get the print AND online editions for $140 a year.

Sure, the iPad can be seen as an expensive luxury device, and I'm sure the WSJ figures they can hit these fat-cat fanboys with a big price tag and nobody will complain, but I think (I hope) they're wrong. People are going to get savvy (if they're not already) to the fact that you can't make the "journalism is expensive" argument, and then charge MORE for delivering the same content in a much cheaper way.

People understand that paper, ink, and distribution are huge costs for the print edition, and that delivering the WSJ to an iPad costs little or nothing more than delivering it on the web or to an iPhone. Once the app is built, delivery is pretty close to free, and it will get even cheaper. To charge more for this than for actually printing a physical newspaper, putting it in a truck and driving it to your damn house is ludicrous and insulting, especially considering the iPad has a full-featured (yes, yes, except Flash) web browser.

Smart publishers will figure out that they CAN charge for content on these devices IF they offer a better experience and better features (offline storage, easy bookmarking and sharing tools, more paper-like browsing, etc.), but they better make the price fair, or no one will bite.

The print publishing industry has a huge opportunity here, but if this is the way they're going to approach it, they're going to blow it, again.