As much as we've heard about the decline to print newspaper readership, I still can't go a week without a customer interaction in which a reader tells me that they just can't give up the look and feel of the paper. They know that most people are getting their news online these days, but they still crave the physical newspaper in their hands.

Admittedly, the demographic for the people who tell me this tends to skew to the older end of the spectrum, but the numbers back up what these conversations tell me: That print readership remains a robust chunk of our readers.

And it's to those readers that today's column is mainly addressed. 

My first message is simple: Thanks. Your readership is so valuable to our ability to sustain quality local journalism, something that's important for the community in which live. We can't report, write, shoot photos and videos, edit and plan without our paying customers' support.

My second message is a little more nuanced: As much as you love holding the paper, you really should try out some of the digital news platforms that are available these days.

That doesn't mean cancel the print subscription. Please continue to enjoy home delivery, or if you like to buy a copy on occasion at the store, by all means continue the habit.

But for our print subscribers, there's tremendous untapped value in the unlimited access to our digital products that these subscriptions provide. All of our subscribers by now have been informed about our new subscription structure, with print customers falling into one of three tiers: Platinum, Gold and Silver.

With each of those tiers comes varying levels of digital bonus material. And it's built into the price you're already paying.

Some of what that includes is a new expanded version of our popular e-edition. The e-edition is a digital replica of the printed pages of the daily newspaper. It's easy to navigate, you can use it anywhere you have online access (vacationers and snowbirds love this feature), you can download and print out pages. There's now even a feature that allows you to order high-quality prints of individual pages.

A new expansion of the e-edition is now included for our Platinum members. Called E-edition Plus, this includes about a dozen or more extra print-designed pages covering topics such as autos, personal finance, home/garden, health, food, nightly sports reports for Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association, plus a host of specially designed topical pages that expand on big news topics of the day. Platinum members also get access to specialty e-zines that cover all sorts of topics, from bridal guides to senior living and more.

All print subscribers can share their digital access with up to five family members or friends, they can give free gift subscriptions and they can access several years worth of Citizen printed page archives. 

As I said, all of this is there for the reading. But print subscribers need to visit auburnpub.com/activate to tap into their digital access. You can unlock your digital benefits by signing in with the email address used in purchasing your print subscription and walking through some verification steps. If you run into problems, though, don't hesitate to call our customer service team at (866) 589-5105 and tell them you're a print subscriber trying to activate the digital portion of your account and you'd like someone to walk you through the process.

I promise that once you're in, you'll be amazed at what you've been missing.

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Executive editor Jeremy Boyer’s column appears Thursdays in The Citizen and he can be reached at (315) 282-2231 or jeremy.boyer@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenBoyer