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Gregg

Changes at Model Cars Magazine

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Model Cars Magazine
Restructuring/Publication Schedule

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 price 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

 

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From a non-emotional standpoint; I think there are solid, explainable decissions. And it is better to take a step 'back', but keep the magazine on track.

Good luck and I hope it works out for you.

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Thanks Gregg, for a simple and understandable explanation.  I miss my magazine and will look forward tor receiving it again when thinks ramp up.  Good luck in your endeavours, I can't imagine how painful all this juggling must have been.

 

Cheers

Alan

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Although I might want a regular printed copy, I've never seen MCM in magazine form here in the UK. Please advertise it on here so as soon as it's ready a subscription would be a good idea.

Edited by PatW

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Thanks for filling us in Gregg, and thanks for all you've done and continue to do for our hobby.  I'm happy to know that the magazine will continue and that more issues will be coming.

David G.

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Sounds like a good plan to me; thanks for filling us in regarding the problems and the solutions.

Excel spreadsheets? Perhaps the database from Micro Soft might be an alternative.

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Thanks for filling us in Greg , I always look forward to our next issue .

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I truly appreciate your dedication and hard work, not to mention financial support.  Thanks for not throwing in the towel, and thanks for the update.

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You didn't mention when Issue #203 will be in the mail, but thanks for the explanation.

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Thanks Gregg, I've been getting the magazine at Barnes and Noble and know I believe that it's time to do what I should of done a long time ago " get a subscription ".

   Jeff 

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Gregg thanks for the update. Hopefully this will get the magazine back on a path to consistency.  Any eta for issue 203.

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Good to hear, Gregg!  Far better news than hearing you did what nearly every one of the rest of us would have done - throw in the towel.

 

Mahalo Nui Loa, Kahuna! 

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Gregg - All the best for the future of the magazine. Thank you for your dedication to the hobby and providing this great forum.

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Thanks for the update Gregg, best wishes for a return to regular magazine production, appreciate the support of the hobby.

 

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Thanks for the announcement, that sounds like a workable plan.

Now people..  Model Cars Magazine is essential to this hobby we all enjoy.  If you are not a subscriber, please sign up now as a show of faith.  You all enjoy this free message board that also comes out of Gregg's pocket.  Subscribe now, it's the right thing to do!    

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From the data at hand, (& from data derived from other threads about this same subject, the magazine continuing), I've done some number crunching & these changes won't be a solution either.

In another thread it was figured up that with the then planned yearly subscription price increase to $40, & the cost of printing a single issue being $10,000, roughly 250 new subscriptions would have to be sold to raise enough capital to publish that single issue, (disregarding retail sales for the moment). Now, with the lower subscription price of $23, that total rises to 435 subscriptions sold each time to raise the capital to publish that single issue. Getting 250 new subscribers just to raise the needed capital was an impossible task, (remember that's 250 new subscribers needed each time to raise the capital for publishing the next issue), so how can raising the number of new subscribers needed to ensure the capital for a new issue by another 185 be feasible? You're looking at having to increase the subscriber base by 2,610 new subscribers a year in order to get the magazine out. The possibility of increasing the subscriber base that much every year is pretty much impossible, with the overall track record of subscriptions generated so far, let alone thinking you can increase it by 435 every month.

Gregg saying that the 1,800 issues needed by Ingram to fulfill the order for Barnes & Noble, (& other media outlets), can't be done at this time because of financial problems is the real nail in the coffin. Those issues could raise some much needed capital to ensure the magazine continuing. Now, I understand that the other 1,900 non subscription copies delivered, the ones that are according to Gregg; "Dealer/hobby shops are billed with an invoice after the magazines are sent out, and they pay their invoices after the magazines are sold", but does that hold true for Ingram's order as well? If not, perhaps something can be worked out with Ingram to get some money up front to get to a more solvent point. Also, does this mean that the other 1,900 issues that go to other outlets, (not through Ingram), can't be printed & distributed because of these financial problems? If so, there's no way this can even get off the ground, let alone work. Relying on an exponential growth in subscriptions such as suggested in this thread is quite simply neither logical nor a sustainable concept, especially if that's your sole means of increasing capital.

I'm sorry to be the bearer of such bad news, but this just isn't going to work without an outside injection of capital, above & beyond that of more people subscribing. Numbers simply don't lie. At this point you would be just as likely to get just as much of a return on your $23 investment by setting the money on fire as you would by subscribing, since this seems to be little more than rearranging the deck chairs after hitting the iceberg.

Edited by Bob Turner2

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Thanks for the update Gregg. I don't mind paying a higher price for the magazine, so I hope this plan works. 

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From the data at hand, (& from data derived from other threads about this same subject, the magazine continuing), I've done some number crunching & these changes won't be a solution either.

In another thread it was figured up that with the then planned yearly subscription price increase to $40, & the cost of printing a single issue being $10,000, roughly 250 new subscriptions would have to be sold to raise enough capital to publish that single issue, (disregarding retail sales for the moment). Now, with the lower subscription price of $23, that total rises to 435 subscriptions sold each time to raise the capital to publish that single issue. Getting 250 new subscribers just to raise the needed capital was an impossible task, (remember that's 250 new subscribers needed each time to raise the capital for publishing the next issue), so how can raising the number of new subscribers needed to ensure the capital for a new issue by another 185 be feasible? You're looking at having to increase the subscriber base by 2,610 new subscribers a year in order to get the magazine out. The possibility of increasing the subscriber base that much every year is pretty much impossible, with the overall track record of subscriptions generated so far, let alone thinking you can increase it by 435 every month.

Gregg saying that the 1,800 issues needed by Ingram to fulfill the order for Barnes & Noble, (& other media outlets), can't be done at this time because of financial problems is the real nail in the coffin. Those issues could raise some much needed capital to ensure the magazine continuing. Now, I understand that the other 1,900 non subscription copies delivered, the ones that are according to Gregg; "Dealer/hobby shops are billed with an invoice after the magazines are sent out, and they pay their invoices after the magazines are sold", but does that hold true for Ingram's order as well? If not, perhaps something can be worked out with Ingram to get some money up front to get to a more solvent point. Also, does this mean that the other 1,900 issues that go to other outlets, (not through Ingram), can't be printed & distributed because of these financial problems? If so, there's no way this can even get off the ground, let alone work. Relying on an exponential growth in subscriptions such as suggested in this thread is quite simply neither logical nor a sustainable concept, especially if that's your sole means of increasing capital.

I'm sorry to be the bearer of such bad news, but this just isn't going to work without an outside injection of capital, above & beyond that of more people subscribing. Numbers simply don't lie. At this point you would be just as likely to get just as much of a return on your $23 investment by setting the money on fire as you would by subscribing, since this seems to be little more than rearranging the deck chairs after hitting the iceberg.

Bob, you forgot one factor that you can't calculate.  Advertising revenue.  

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Keep the magazine going on your side and I'll keep the subscription paid up on mine! 

It's one of the best magazines for the price!

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Bob, you forgot one factor that you can't calculate.  Advertising revenue.  

Good point. However from what I've read about the niche magazine market in general & their advertising revenues, I seriously doubt it's enough to make the difference.

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You don't quit, we don't quit 👍

Keep the magazine going on your side and I'll keep the subscription paid up on mine! 

It's one of the best magazines for the price!

Me, too. Gregg, I'm sure that you'll keep it going for both yourself and for your readers.

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I have been mailed a magazine from day 2 as I did not get a mailed copy until I picked up the first one at the NNL/ Toledo Toy show. I  sure hope things get better for you Gregg.

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