I've talked about the dying magazine industry before. It's not something I look forward to, I love my subscriptions to Wired and Paste, but it definitely seems inevitable. In my last post about this topic, I said that they way I felt they could slow their demise was to make high quality products that catered to a different base of people. Ones that would like to keep them and revisit them.
Paste has decided to do the opposite of the previously mentioned strategy. A month or two ago, they openly discussed the financial troubles they were going through, and asked their subscribers and fans for help. This led to a big campaign to Save Paste, with artists donating exclusive songs to anyone who donated. And the masses donated. As far as I could tell the Save Paste campaign was a roaring success. But that's not what I'm writing about.
If you've found this article, it might be because you are confused by the most recent Paste that came in your mail. You see, they have decided that they needed to cut the magazine down to 6 issues a year instead of the 11 (A joint December/January issue) they were putting out. But they thought that this might be unfair to their subscribers, so they agreed on making small little bonus issues on the off months for only people who are subscribed.
Sounds generous and thoughtful yes, but why do I know this and why are you confused. That may be because Paste also made another decision, that being to not tell anyone about this. You'd think they would want to maybe send a letter to their subscribers explaining this new production model to them. If not that, then maybe write a little blurb about it in the first tiny issue that their subscribers will get. Or if both of those are too much work then maybe they could at least type up a quick little explanation and put it on their website. All of that was too much work I guess.
Instead, Paste has said nothing about it anywhere. When I received my first tiny issue I thought it must be some bonus, and my real issue would come later. Then I realized that this tiny issue had all the trappings of a normal Paste issue. So I hopped online and ran a google search to see what was up. Nothing. I went to their website and searched around looking for an explanation. Nothing.
At this point I was more then a little annoyed, so I found a contact email and I sent off a demand for some kind of explanation. Seeing as nothing is available online, I feel as though I should just republish the responses I got here. So I will.
Dear Alex,This response still left something to be desired, mainly because this was the first "bonus issue" I had received so I'm not sure why he was acting like it was a normal thing. So I wrote back this.
Thank you for contacting Paste Magazine. The small issue you received for August is a bonus issue. With a subscription for 1 yr you will receive 6 regular size issues , and 6 bonus issues. For example; May was Regular sized, June was small bonus, July was regular size , August small bonus. It will continue like that. Hopefully this answers your question. If theres anything else I can do for you please let me know.
But I paid for a years subscription of regular sized issues. Nothing about these tiny issues was ever mentioned until this issue got here and was tiny. I've gotten regular sized issues all year long until now. If there was an explanation of this somewhere in the magazine or on the website I might not be so annoyed but I had to email to find out. If I paid for real sized issues and I'm not getting refunded some of my money for these tiny things then I should at least be given the respect of an explanation somewhere.And I received this.
There we go! An explanation! Why did it take so much effort to get such a simple explanation? If Paste had to do this because of further financial troubles that their Save Paste campaign couldn't remedy then that's fine, but shouldn't their subscribers get the respect of an explanation? I would think so.
Thanks for the email back. I apologize that you are upset. Paste used to be 11 issues , but now it is twelve issues. After a marketing survey, the publisher found that in the company's best interest , they would need to change the way the magazine was being sent out. Rather than just giving subscribers just 6 issues for a subscription, the publishers decided that the in between months they would send out a bonus issue for only subscribers. This was a necessary step that the publisher needed to take to stay in business. If you have any more concerns please let me know.