Since 2009, Longreads has thrived as a service and a community thanks to your direct financial support. Without Longreads Members’ contributions, it’s possible we would have had to shut down after just a couple years.
Now, here we are in 2014, with a global community of more than half a million readers. In April, Longreads joined the Automattic / WordPress.com family, which meant that the Longreads Member dues were no longer necessary to keep our four-person team going.
This also meant that we could finally make good on our original intention for the Longreads Membership—which was for 100% of your contributions to go directly to independent publishers and writers.
So that’s what we are announcing today: The Longreads Membership is now a great big digital story fund, financed with your generous support. The more Longreads Members who join, the more contributions we gather, the more stories we’ll help fund.
WordPress.com Is Now Matching Your Contributions
And as an added bonus, WordPress.com is going to match Longreads Members’ contributions, so your contributions will now be twice as powerful.
Our goal is to create a sustainable membership with a large enough base that it will fund reporting and writing at rates that are competitive with the best print magazines in the world. (We’re not there yet, but we’re getting closer every day.)
Current Members, Here's How You Can Help
Help us spread the word by sharing your Member status on Twitter.
What You Fund, and What You Get as a Longreads Member
Members’ contributions will help fund Longreads Exclusives from other publishers, and it will also fund original work—interviews, reported narratives, history, essays, and more. You’ve already seen many of our Longreads Exclusives—a memoir from songwriter Lucinda Williams and Radio Silence, Kiera Feldman’s look at the Oral Roberts family dynasty for This Land Press, Jessica Gross’s in-depth interview with Caitlin Moran, and Jeff Sharlet’s Instagram essay. See more stories here.
In addition to Members funding our Longreads Exclusives, we also like to send you special surprises along the way: Members this year received a special tote bag and stickers as a small token of our thanks. We’re planning even more perks for the coming year.
The Longreads Member Mission
There are a lot of companies putting big money into storytelling right now, which is great, but in many cases there’s no real model backing it. We believe reader-financed storytelling is the most sustainable long-term approach for guaranteeing quality on the Internet. And we believe the Longreads Membership has a very real chance of succeeding to help fulfill this need.
Join us today. We recommend $3 a month or $30 a year, but you can give even more if you like. Together we’ll create a true model of sustainability for independent publishers and writers around the world.