Editorial: Circulation's Bad Times
The cost to deliver magazines isn't helping the situation, either. The U.S. Postal Service raised the periodical rate 10 percent in its latest increase, and another rate case will be filed this summer. (Expect an average increase of 15 percent for all mail categories. The USPS is in dire straits, folks.) The only success story of last year: Oprah Winfrey's O magazine, which began with a circulation of 500,000 and increased to 2.16 million after just five issues. Readers liked what they saw, and the circulation skyrocketed accordingly.
Dan Capell, publisher of Capell's Circulation Report, told me direct mail still accounts for 24 percent to 25 percent of new subscriptions, though it's down from 30 percent a few years ago. That must explain the 11 solicitations I received in a recent 10-day span, with titles ranging from Time to Computer Gaming World and Yahoo Internet Life (actually, I got two from Yahoo). Most of these can be attributed to a recent subscription to eCompany Now because my name is spelled wrong. Two offers were in the form of e-mails, a growing area but one that Capell doesn't recommend because e-mail addresses can go bad so quickly.