February 16, 2017
We have been in touch with all current subscribers over the last 2 weeks to let you know of changes to Singletrack Subscriptions, but letters get lost in the post, emails end up in spam folders, so here it is again for everyone.
If you have any questions regarding your subscription, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Mark Alker, Singletrack publisher:
As you will be aware the media landscape is an ever changing one. One that we at Singletrack have always been keen to embrace to our advantage wherever possible. Recently however, one of those changes has manifested itself in the guise of a very large increase in the cost of producing print and so in 2017 we are making some necessary changes to your subscription.
In the very next issue of Singletrack (due out in a week) Chipps outlines these changes and how we think we have found a way to do what we always do: write great magazines and make the very best out of them. Here’s Chipps’ editorial that we thought we’d let you see before the rest of the world does…
Issue 111 Editorial
When was the last time you bought any nice paper? No, I can’t remember either – perhaps the last time I had to send a paper CV in to someone I was trying to impress, so it’s been a while for me at least – but it’s something we do here every month when we print the magazine.
The weight and finish of every page is specified by us and then paper to that spec of thickness and glossiness arrives at Warners, our printers in Lincolnshire on great big rolls that need a forklift to move around. The paper is loaded into the massive printing machine and, once the printing plates are set in place, they’re sliced into large sheets to be printed both sides and then folded, trimmed and added to the other sections of Singletrack as they pass through the printing process. Finally, the thicker cover is glued into place, trimmed, and the finished magazine is left to dry before being boxed for distribution to stockists or bagged for posting to
Towards the end of 2016 we got the not-unexpected announcement that paper and print prices would be going up. Our paper, like everyone else’s comes from the Continent as there are no commercial magazine-quality paper mills in the UK any more and, priced in Euros, the cost of paper has increased. That nugget, along with a change in the way that advertisers view print magazines and how readers consume their content has made us have a long, hard think about how we approach Singletrack magazine.
We are, and always will be, fans of paper magazines. I think there’s a permanence and a gravitas to a printed page. Opinions put in print are there forever and they can’t be deleted or amended, or lost in a server crash. How readers approach a printed page, too, is different to the upswipe and tab-down of the electronic page. A magazine demands that you put a little time aside to read it properly and appreciate it fully, in the same way you’ll listen a little harder to a vinyl record as you sit in your favourite chair. A magazine takes time to read, but it also gives you that reason for some ‘me time’, whether that’s at your breakfast table, on the
sofa, or on a plane journey somewhere fun. We want that experience to continue, though we also appreciate that many people are interested in the content, regardless of medium. Many younger (and I’m talking relatively, here!) readers place less importance on where they see something, and more on what it is. Similarly, concentration and attention spans are going down and, I’m sorry, what was that again?
The world is on the cusp between the permanence of print and the convenience of digital. And what happens in the next few years, no one in the magazine industry can predict.
Here is what Singletrack Magazine is going to do. We’re changing our frequency from eight issues a year, to six. A year’s subscription will now get you six issues, instead of eight, but each one will be dramatically thicker.
Fewer magazines, but more pages in each one. Currently we produce a 100 page magazine, with an extra 16 pages for subscribers. From next issue, we’re going to be printing 116 pages per issue for our newsagent copies, with an extra 32 pages for subscribers, for a total
of 148 pages.
The setup costs we save with this will help pay for those extra pages. The time we save will let us spend more on bigger, richer stories for the magazine and the the website. We’ll have room for longer interviews, more in-depth technical features and more room for glorious, inspirational photos.
It’s a rough world out there for publishers these days, but I’m looking forward to what we can do with all of that space. As always, though, it’s your magazine and I know you’ll let us know if we’ve got it right or not. Let’s see where we end up, eh?
..Now, changes like this, even when they are for the better do also mean there are inevitable paperwork tasks to deal with. Payment schedules and direct debit collections for subscribers need to be adjusted. To this end we wanted to let you know that over the coming weeks and months, Sarah will be writing to you all to explain how this will affect your subscription arrangements.
In the meantime, you may already have questions and we are always happy to answer them. Feel free to get in touch with us directly or just post on the forum.
We really appreciate your support as a subscriber and we are looking forward to a new year and a new Singletrack.
Mark Alker – Publisher