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January 04, 2006

The New Yorker Wants Me

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

The New Yorker really, really wants me to become a subscriber:


If they're willing to knock almost 90% off the usual cost, then why shouldn't they be willing to give me the magazine outright? Come to think of it: If they want me that badly, then why don't they pay me to take their magazine? Or would I then no longer qualify as a subscriber?

Donald riffed here on the theme of subscribing to magazines.



posted by Michael at January 4, 2006


Today "Traditional Home" offered me a three year subscription for the price of one year. The lead on their pitch is "we're NOT stuffy..." But they are. I decline. I prefer Elle Decore, the French version.

And today the GF Tribune announced that the only newsstand in Missoula -- the kind that stocks EVERYTHING plus cigars -- is folding up because it's losing money. Long ago I bought a copy of Vogue there. The clerk sneered, "Would you like a sack for your SLICK, SELF-INDULGENT, LUXURY magazine?" Well... I turned down the sack, but he was right. Missoula has never been slow to let the world know that they are high-minded. So cigar and news stores must be passe.

I remember when my sophomore HS English teacher -- 1956 -- stood up in front of the advanced English class and said, "Now THIS is a "slick" magazine." I think it was the Saturday Evening Post. "And THIS is a "quality" magazine." It was Atlantic Monthly. I don't remember her holding up a pulp. I suppose pulp was my father's "Police Gazette" which he kept behind the clothes hamper so he could read it in the bathroom. He subscribed to maybe ten magazines -- mostly "slick" -- and none was in the house for 24 hours without me reading it. Including the "Police Gazette."

During my last years in Portland I enjoyed hanging out in Rich's Cigar Store. During my first years in Montana I tried to make frequent pilgrimages to Val's Cigar Store in Great Falls. Are newsstands a victim of anti-tobacco campaigns?

Posted by: Mary Scriver on January 4, 2006 5:59 PM

I just started a subscription to NY last week. Where in the heck did you find the $25 rate?

BTW, I also cancelled my subscription to Time mag. The Time writers are great (love Richard Corliss/Shickel), but why do most of their articles end up 2 paragraphs or less?

Also, certain theme issues seem ridiculous. The Person of the Year issue has a big photo spread of Bill/Melinda Gates/Bono, and very few articles of any interest.

To reiterate: I love the writers for Time, I just go frustrated at their capsule articles about everything.

New Yorker goes to the opposite extreme of course, but at least I don't find that my intelligence is being insulted.

Posted by: Robert Nagle on January 4, 2006 6:36 PM

Robert, my problem with New Yorker is opposite of yours: I find my intelligence being insulted.

(oh, and the rate question: see above the figures it says "professional rate"? By the same token, I subscribe to Interior Design Magazine for $25.00, newstand price - $134)

Posted by: Tat on January 4, 2006 8:26 PM

MB, don't let those slick momzers at the New Yorker take advantage of you! Make a $12.50 counteroffer.

Posted by: Jonathan on January 4, 2006 9:29 PM

That's a good deal. With the cost of postage going up they are essentially giving you the magazine for shipping cost. I just hope all those ads in the magazine pay off for them....

Posted by: Deb on January 5, 2006 6:42 AM

"Or would I then no longer qualify as a subscriber?"

IIRC postal regulations require that a certain percentage of "subscribers" be paid subscribers to qualify for the Periodicals rate. Also, a paid subscriber is more likely to be interested enough in the subject matter of the magazine to also read the ads. Ad buyers know this and adjust what they will pay for ad space correspondingly.

Posted by: Doug Sundseth on January 5, 2006 1:05 PM

If, as I've heard people claim, magazines want to give away subscriptions, but can't, either for postal regulations (I'd never heard that before this thread) or for fear of advertizers (as I've heard several times), why don't they offer longer subscriptions, say 3 years?

I want to share a couple stories about subscriptions. I knew a couple of people who had free subscriptions. In one case, the magazine appeared without explanation, while the other was a year's subscription provided by a bank. In both cases, the magazines occassionally asked for renewal, didn't cease coming for years.

The other story is from a few decades ago--I'm not sure when. The newspaper cancelled my grandparents' subscription because they weren't the right demographic for the advertizers.

Posted by: L on January 7, 2006 9:05 PM

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