Do you ever get a sense of foreboding when someone – usually an employer, in my experience – starts reminiscing about the good old days.
You’re never sure whether you’re being invited to a celebration or a wake, and you just wish they’d cut to the chase.
So, without further ado: after fifteen years of absorbing the increased costs of print, paper and post we’ve had to put American-V’s cover price up.
Don’t think for a moment that it was an easy decision but even before we think about the current state of the high street in the digital age, the world has changed since we set American-V’s cover price at £4.95 in 2003.
Fuel was 81p a litre, an 883 Sportster was £4,995 in a single colour, beer was under £2 and it cost us 80p to send a magazine second class.
Fuel is up by 50%, an 883 Sportster by nearly 80%, beer by closer to 85%, and post by more than 100%: £1.72 to post a magazine by second class post!
On the plus side, average wages have allegedly gone up by 45%.
We put the price up to £4.99 in 2014.
Sadly, that didn’t begin to cover our increased costs, so here we are.
And yes, £6.99 is a significant increase, but it looks worse than it is because we’ve done it in one hit: it is significantly below the rate of inflation, which would have been £7.67, and we are doing what we can to mitigate the increase.
We will continue to cover the cost of postage on direct sales but can only do so because of the cover price increase.
We will be pushing subscriptions hard, though, effectively preserving the old cover price, but we cannot continue the 6-for-5 deal.
Subscriptions will be going up to £29.99 for a year from next issue – still representing a saving of nearly £12 compared to single issues – and £59.99 for two years, with a T-shirt (scheduled to arrive with us on Friday – and you will see a post as soon as they land).
How can we keep prices lower on subscriptions but not the high street?
Because there is no waste with subs: we print what we need.
By contrast, it is notoriously difficult to match supply to demand on the high street. That’s why you struggle to find a copy in shops, and why too many magazines end up in recycling, having gone to the wrong shops.
We will ultimately come out of the high street – all magazines will and many have already gone 100% digital, but we recognise that a high percentage of readers prefer a paper magazine and we’re doing what we can to deliver that.
That said, without print, distribution or postal costs – or waste – digital prices are not affected, and that is still the best option for overseas readers.