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Old 02-13-2019, 05:40 AM
Orville mogul is offline
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Why 8-12 weeks for new magazine subscriptions?


I recently subscribed for a print copy of a monthly magazine after many years, and was amused to see that they said that the first issue would arrive in “8 to 12 weeks”. Sure enough, it came yesterday, 12 weeks almost to the day from when I had placed the order.

That got me to wondering why it takes so long to get a new subscription in the system. I recall the same 8-12 week delay when I (or my parents) made subscriptions like 20 or 30 years ago, but surely things would have become more efficient?

All I can figure is that the publishers only want to produce exactly the number of copies that they know they would either sell to subscribers or supply to newsstands, and therefore would only adapt their printing capacity on a periodic basis? Is that it or is there another reason?
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Old 02-13-2019, 05:44 AM
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Did you subscribe directly, or through a third party subscription service?
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Old 02-13-2019, 06:08 AM
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This has been an issue as long as I can remember.

I have a vague recollection of someone telling me decades ago that the mailing services prepared their packages and labels months in advance and it would cost too much for the publisher to slap a delivery label on any old copy and put it in the mail.

I have no idea whether that’s true. But it is true that many periodicals used to be out to bed months in advance of their cover date.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:50 AM
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I recently let the kids' Sports Illustrated subscription lapse. I started a new subscription online and it said the first issue would arrive in 2-5 weeks. It's biweekly and we got the next issue which was published, so it came in under two weeks. I guess this shows that the lag isn't universal, though Sports Illustrated may be on the leading edge since they're able to do things like having different covers for different areas of the country.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:52 AM
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Weird. I subscribed to three magazines via a third party offer while Christmas shopping the week before Christmas and got issues of all three in January.
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
Did you subscribe directly, or through a third party subscription service?
I subscribed directly on the magazine's website. It was National Geographic.
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:24 PM
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My suspicion is that monthly magazines, and those which don't rely on topical articles (National Geographic checks both of those boxes), may be pre-printing their magazines before their mailing dates, and thus generally have longer lead times for placing new subscribers into their databases.

Weekly and news magazines, on the other hand, are likely printing immediately before mailout, which may make them more nimble in how quickly they can add in new subscribers.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 02-14-2019 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 02-14-2019, 05:43 PM
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Does anyone remember when you would buy something from a catalog and the shipping time was always "6 to 8 weeks"?

I understand a week for them to get the order in the mail and process it and a week for them to actually ship it but what the hell are they doing for the other 6 weeks?
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Old 02-14-2019, 05:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asuka View Post
Does anyone remember when you would buy something from a catalog and the shipping time was always "6 to 8 weeks"?

I understand a week for them to get the order in the mail and process it and a week for them to actually ship it but what the hell are they doing for the other 6 weeks?
Ha! Remember this from when I was a kid. 6-8 weeks seemed like an eternity.
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Old 02-14-2019, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asuka View Post
Does anyone remember when you would buy something from a catalog and the shipping time was always "6 to 8 weeks"?

I understand a week for them to get the order in the mail and process it and a week for them to actually ship it but what the hell are they doing for the other 6 weeks?
Waiting for it to be built?

Supply chains are vastly more nimble than they used to be.
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Old 02-14-2019, 06:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
This has been an issue as long as I can remember.

I have a vague recollection of someone telling me decades ago that the mailing services prepared their packages and labels months in advance and it would cost too much for the publisher to slap a delivery label on any old copy and put it in the mail.

I have no idea whether that’s true. But it is true that many periodicals used to be out to bed months in advance of their cover date.
Most, but not all, magazines don't use labels any more. They simply spray addresses on a white box on the cover of the magazine itself.
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
This has been an issue as long as I can remember...
We all see what he done there, right?


mmm
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