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Magazine Subscriptions: Smart Shopping or Waste of Money?

Aug 17, 2007
As one of the many postcards embedded between the pages of the magazine you're reading falls to the floor you notice the usual sales jargon about the huge savings you'll receive by making at least a one year commitment and purchasing a subscription to their particular magazine. To further entice you they might even promise that you can buy now and pay later.

Whether or not purchasing that particular magazine subscription is smart shopping for you can be dependent on how often you buy a particular magazine at the newsstand, and the pricing amongst other things.

Publishers need to sell as many magazine subscriptions as possible, but not for the reasons that you may think. While publishers do generate income from selling magazine subscriptions, the bulk of their revenue comes from the advertising they sell to marketers eager to spread their message to as many consumers as possible. The higher a magazines circulation (the amount of readers they have) the more they are able to charge advertisers.

For this reason Magazine subscriptions are especially important to publishers as they are never completely sure of how well a particular issue will do at the newsstand. Readers may not like the cover; the stories may seem uninteresting, in certain months of the year sales get sluggish as people are reading less, etc. Subscriptions are pre-sold and can be relayed to potential advertisers as such who will be charged accordingly.

It becomes understandable while publishers work hard to increase the amount of magazine subscriptions sold. They must work diligently to keep circulation numbers high or risk losing money. Whether or not you should ignore the postcards or unending number of renewal notices really depends. You may want to think about purchasing a magazine subscription if 2 or more of the following applies to you:

Frequency: You Purchase the Magazine on a Regular Basis:

In general magazine subscriptions are highly discounted in comparison to the prices charged at newsstands. Buying a subscription can easily save you up to 90% off the cover price (newsstand price). For example, if you were to purchase Penthouse Magazine every month for one year it would cost you $99.55. However, the current Penthouse Magazine subscription rate is only $19.95. By purchasing a subscription you save about $80 or approximately $81% off the cover price.

The same is true for popular woman's magazine Cosmopolitan. The current cover price if paid by the month is $42, compared to a subscription to Cosmopolitan Magazine is only $18, a savings of 57%.

The frequency of which you purchase magazine is the key indicator of whether or not a subscription is cheaper for you. If you only purchase Penthouse Magazine once or twice per year, it isn't cost effective at all.

You Like Free Things

Whose eyes don't light up when they see the word FREE? Publishers are well aware of this and some have been known to give away free items like tote bags, calendars, clocks, tents and more. Though they are generally not the most expensive items it is a way for the publishers to say thank you.

If you are uninterested in free knick knacks, how about free subscriptions? Some publishers have been known to provide either a second year at no price or extra issues in without cost to further entice would be subscribers.

You want your Magazines ASAP!

One of the perks of purchasing a magazine subscription is that you'll get the most current issue before it even hits the newsstands. Magazine subscription labels are in general printed up 2-3 months in advance. When the latest issue is hot off the presses it isn't long before they are delivered to the mailboxes of subscribers. Monthly magazines tend to arrive about 2 weeks before the cover date. Weekly magazines have less lead time but still beat the issues to the stands.

You Want More for Your Money

If huge savings and getting the subscriptions before anyone else doesn't convince you publishers like to keep one more weapon in their arsenals. Those who purchase their magazine subscriptions are eligible for subscriber only info. This can be in the form of small gifts but often publishers have a members or subscribers only section of their websites. Once there, subscribers can find more in depth articles and features that might have been cut from the print edition due to space limitations, photos, contests and more.

You Are Limited on Time

Let's face it, most of use are very busy and want things as convenient as possible. You may not have the time to go out every month and hunt down your favorite magazines. When you do have the time you may find out the newsstand has sold out if the magazine published a particularly popular issue.

In most cases we pay far more for the sake of convenience. Magazines might be the one business where you pay less for someone to make things easier on us.
About the Author
Lisa James is a staff writer for www.suscriba.com provider of discount Magazine Subscriptions
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