BY WILLIAM E. N. HAWKINS I hope by now most of you have seen our ads promoting the new Advantage Membership. It starts Tuesday, when our current newspaper subscribers will automatically be transitioned into members.

Membership, as the old saying goes, does have its privileges and in this case that will include:

¦ Home delivery of The Post and Courier and selected other publications, including Tideline and Lowcountry Parent.

¦ Unlimited access to news and content on Unlimited access to our mobile application for smartphones. Unlimited access to our new iPad tablet application.

¦ Access to our digital news archives, including the invaluable Civil War years.

¦ Access to the e-edition of the newspaper.

¦ Enrollment in an expanded subscriber rewards program that includes valuable discounts at hundreds of stores and restaurants. We will assist all of our home delivery customers in completing the easy registration that also provides two free accounts for all of our digital offerings. That access will include the privilege of commenting on stories online.

The biggest change is that most of our local news will no longer be free on for non-members. After five story views a month, visitors will be offered the opportunity to subscribe to The Post and Courier with all of the advantage benefits, or opt for a digital only subscription at $10 a month or $99 a year. Our mobile and tablet sites will be metered as well.

The home page and section fronts on will remain free for all to view, as will the ads and obituaries. But a meter will kick in after a reader clicks on five stories in a given 30-day period. At that point, non-members will be offered the opportunity to subscribe, or opt for the digital only package, which will include access to our e-reader, tablet and mobile apps.

But only print subscribers will benefit from our valuable new subscriber rewards program. The enriched program offers our readers discounts at 220 local and national establishments. Members will also be invited to private Post and Courier events, the first of which will be coming up in a few weeks.

Recently, for example, dozens of Post and Courier subscribers were rewarded with free tickets to the Elton John concert.

All of this adds up to value for our subscribers and a significant change for non-members.

We continue to devote more resources to our digital future and have grown into the most visited web site in the Lowcountry.

But there is no sustainable business model in giving away our valuable journalism for free on the Web or digital devices.

The Post and Courier invests millions each year to maintain the largest and most honored news staff in the state. It is part of our unique role in serving as the Lowcountry’s most trusted and valued news source for the past 209 years.

We believe this new model makes good business sense and will help provide resources to sustain our mission, for generations to come, as our community’s trusted voice and center of commerce.

The timing of this change is not by accident. We have begun the process of notifying our subscribers that there will be a home delivery price increase this year. That decision was based on growing costs, not the least of which is gasoline to deliver the papers. There would have been a price increase with or without the new advantage model.

So we timed Tuesday’s change, in effect, to give something back to our loyal subscribers and enhance the value of being members of the growing Post and Courier multi-media company.

All next week we will have our senior staff on hand to answer any questions and help our subscribers make the easy transition to their Advantage Membership.

You will find all of the information you need to make the change at or by calling us at 843-853-7678.

Either way, please be in touch.

It’s to your advantage! William E. N. Hawkins is editor and publisher of The Post and Courier.