The Rockland Courier-Gazette, the Camden Herald and the Belfast Republican Journal will return to area newsstands on Thursday, April 5, according to Reade Brower. Brower finalized the purchase of the remaining assets of Village Net Media with The First, N.A., on Wednesday, March 21.

Brower, who owns several companies, including The Free Press, said he will honor existing subscriptions to the now-defunct VillageSoup Gazette and VillageSoup Journal by switching subscribers to one of the new newspapers.

Brower plans to retain the Village Soup website, but it will no longer be free.

"The model of free news is unsustainable and beginning April 5, 2012, with the reopening of the site and reintroduction of the papers, it will be necessary to charge a small fee . . . in order for us to bring you a strong news product," said Brower.

The newspapers will cost $1 on newsstands, or $59 a year for print subscription and online access. Readers who prefer just the print or the online access will pay $49 annually.

Some of the 56 former Village Soup employees have been rehired. Rockland staff with the new company will need to move out of 301 Park Street, where Village Soup had been headquartered, by the end of the month, which is when Knox County, which bought the building earlier this year, takes possession of it. Brower said he expects to find a new building within the week.

Free Press, Inc. will remain an unafiliated independent company and will continue publishing its free weekly midcoast newspaper with a free website.