Model Cars Magazine
First off, no, we are not shutting down Model Cars Magazine. Yes, it probably would be a lot easier, less headaches, and the smarter thing to do, but we don’t quit. What we have decided is to restructure and overhaul the printing/publication schedule for Model Cars.
Since 2001, we have printed nine issues a year. We had started off the first two years doing only six issues, but the magazine took off, and we went up to nine issues a year. With Golden Bell Press in Denver shutting down in December 2015, the magazine was dumped in our laps, lock, stock, and barrel. There were over 2,400 subscribers, about 1,900 dealers/hobby shop copies, and at that time, around 500 copies sent for distribution through major newsstands/bookstores with a distributor (Ingram). So with a print run of 5,000 copies, it looked like it would be something we could do. About a week after the turnover, Ingram increased their order from 500 copies, to 1,800 copies, literally overnight. This would be great for the circulation/numbers for the magazine, but there was of course increased costs involved. So from a normal print run of 5,000 copies, we were now at 6,500 copies.
We were under an obligation to fulfill all the existing subscriptions, with no cash flow coming in. Dealer/hobby shops are billed with an invoice after the magazines are sent out, and they pay their invoices after the magazines are sold.
We were spending about $10,000 per issue to print, polybag, and mail each issue, and we have done four issues since the closing of Golden Bell. Model Cars was on a nine issue a year subscription base. So, after a year, we have made a decision. In hindsight, always 20/20 mind you, we should have done this at the beginning, but that is just the way things have worked out.
Change In Frequency/Printing Per Year
We will be going from nine issues a year down to six issues a year, and the Annual Contest Issue will now be a separate stand-alone issue, NOT included with the annual subscriptions. We are raising the cover price of the magazine, from $5.50 to $6.50 (it has been the same price for over 17 years), and annual six issues a year subscriptions will be $23 per year. DON’T SCREAM AND YELL. You will not be ripped off, lose any issues, etc. When the change happened, Golden Bell was using a proprietary system for the subscriptions. We didn’t have $6,000-7,000 to pay for a dedicated subscription software system, so we are using simple Excel spreadsheets to do the database/subscriber information. When the data came over, the expirations were in months, and since we knew we were behind already, we changed the months over to the corresponding issue number. So, if you have eight issues left on your subscription, you will still get eight issues. It may take longer (please, no sarcastic comments/jokes inserted here), but you will get ALL of your eight issues, irregardless of the date/month of the issue. The new rate will be $23 per year, for six issues. At the old rate, nine issues were $34.65, which breaks down to $3.85 per copy/issue. At the new rate, $23 for six issues, that comes out to $3.83 per copy/issue. So basically, your subscription base rate is staying the same, albeit with a two cents difference.
We are also putting the distribution through Ingram (Barnes & Noble and other newsstands) on hold for now, until we get back up to speed. We had thought about just carrying on with just printing and mailing to the paid subscribers, but that would be like shooting ourselves in the foot.
So, yes, we should have done this before/sooner, but that is what it is, as they say. Yes, there are a lot of things we could have done different/better, it has been a learning curve, for sure. It would be a lot less headaches if we just walked away from the $50,000 that we have invested so far in this, and try and live “normal” lives, but then, we are not normal, right?
We are not doing this for the money. We are doing this because we love the hobby, plain and simple. This hobby has done so much for us, and this is our way of giving back to it.
Thank you so much, everyone, who has stood behind us, and next to us, along this journey. Model Cars has been published for over 17 years, and we hope to see it published, and printed, for another 20 years at least!
Mahalo nui loa
Gregg & Darryl