Minding Our Business: "Why Don’t You Have a Print Edition?"
Probably once a month, we get an email from someone asking why we don’t publish a print edition of home/school/life. “I like to be able to hold a magazine in my hands and flip through it,” someone will say. And Amy will say “So do I.” So why don’t we just publish a print edition? The reason, frankly, is cost. Say that every single person who currently subscribes to the digital edition of home/school/life decided to take advantage of the print edition. It would cost about $22 per issue. That’s just the cost of printing — it doesn’t include any mailing costs, and it doesn’t include any profit for the magazine. It’s just the straight-up cost of printing the magazine for the number of subscribers we currently have. We think that’s a bit too much to ask someone to pay. (Though we will order you a print copy if you want one — just email us for the price of a particular issue and shipping.)
There are ways we could make a print edition more affordable. We could be less picky about advertisers, or trade reviews or coverage in the magazine for money that would help cover the cost of subscriber copies. But we feel like that’s not the way we want to grow this magazine. We like knowing that our readers can trust that the products we review in our pages are the ones we honestly think are the very best. We like knowing that the companies who advertise with us are companies whose products we can wholeheartedly support.
We could also reduce the size of the magazine — if we cut the number of pages in each issue in half, we’d cut the price of printing in half, too. But we like that every issue feels like a book’s worth of content — we want to give you enough reading material to carry you through the season until our next issue comes out.
Ultimately, we’ve decided to be patient. We put out a magazine that we think stands head and shoulders above other homeschool magazines. We hear from lots of readers who say it’s “the best homeschool magazine” they've ever read. We’re going to trust that we’re doing the right thing with the magazine and trust that — eventually — our readers will find us. (Some people have mentioned a Kickstarter campaign, and that’s definitely something we’re going to look into.)
Because there is a magic number where the cost-per-issue for subscriptions drops dramatically. (If you’d like to help us get there, tell your friends about home/school/life — encourage them to check out a free copy of the summer issue and to subscribe if they like what they read. The more people who read the magazine, the closer we get to offering a printed version.) Ultimately, the things we feed are the things that grow, and we want to feed home/school/life in a way that will make us proud of what it grows into. If that means it takes us a little longer to produce a print edition, we're okay with that. We hope our readers will be, too.