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Good News & Bad News


By Dale Vree | November 1990
Dale Vree is the Editor of the New Oxford Review.

We’ll come right to the point: The good news is that we’ve avoided hiking our subscription rates for six years in a row now (a record for us), and, while the paid circulation of most periodicals has been declining, the New Oxford Review’s paid circulation is up about 8.5 percent over last year (to about 6,500).

The bad news is that, in the process, the ever-frugal NOR ran a budget deficit of $11,000 this past fiscal year. At this rate, by the time our paid circulation reaches 8,250 we’ll be out of business.

Yes, it’s crazy. But it’s par for the course for thought-leader periodicals such as the New Oxford Review. When you combine the usual deficits serious periodicals sustain with the added expenses involved in finding new subscribers, you wind up with financial headaches.

And worse, when you consider the near future, it’s Migraine Time. The Postal Service is planning to increase second-class rates (the category under which magazines such as the NOR are mailed) by about 33 percent in early 1991, while a first-class stamp is to go up 20 percent. Everyone will suffer, but especially magazines. Moreover, each new calendar year our printer and mailing house increase their rates. Then there’s the long-overdue recession most economists say will hit us imminently, helped along by the crisis in the Persian Gulf. Recessions are especially hard on publishers.

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