Oct 21 2005

The Evilness of Magazine Subscriptions

Published by at 6:01 pm under General

This is an old article and the information contained within it may be out of date, not reflect my current views and/or contain broken links. If you feel this article is still valid and requires updating, you can use the contact form to let me know. However, I make no guarantee that it will get updated.

“What?”, I hear you say. “How can magazine subscriptions be evil?!?!”

And you might be right to question me as magazine subscriptions offer you get benefits such as:

  • Delivery to your door
  • Early delivery (from some publishers)
  • Free gifts
  • Guaranteed delivery of every issue

But please hear me out. I have been thinking about this for a while now and I think that I have come to the right ethical conclusion. I started thinking about this subject when I decided to get my sister a subscription to FHM last christmas. Since I came back from university she had been nagging me every month to go and get the latest issue from the newsagents as she likes reading it but she felt uneasy going to buy it herself. As I’m not a great fan of FHM this got rather anoying so I decided to get her the subscription.


It may not seem much like exercise, especially if you drive to the newsagents, but just getting out of the house/office will have benefits for your health. And if its really too much effort for you to get to the newsagents then you really should start asking yourself some questions about the state of your health. Think of the trip to the newsagents as a fitness indicator.


Ok, so you’ve found a magazine that you like and so you decided to get a subscription to it. End of story. But what about the other magazines that are avaiable for the same subject. If you get a subscription to, say, FHM and you never again go to the newsagents you may well be missing out on other magazines such as Loaded, Esquire, GQ, etc. On several occasions I have been in to the news agents to see if the latest copy of my regular magazine is out only to find a really interesting in another magazine. Maybe you’ll find a new magazine that you never knew existed. If you get a subscription to one magazine you could really be missing out.


One disadvantage of having a subscription is that, even if you don’t want an issue because there is nothing in it that interests you, your stuck with it. There’s no point complaining because you’ve already paid for it. If, say, the edtorial team changes part way through your subscription and you don’t like the new teams style you’re stuffed. You could try and get the remained of your subscription back but the chances are that if its more than half way through you wont get anything. What are you going to do now? By going into the newsagents to pick up the latest issue you can have a look through it first to decide whether or not you want it. If you don’t want it you’ve then got the option of getting a different magazine, maybe this new magazine will become your regular magazine.


On several occasions I have been into a newsagent to pick up my regular biking magazine only to find someone else flicking through the same issue, its only taken a slight comment such as “Oh, good… this ones got a section on touring” and before I know it I’m having a conversation with the other person in there. No matter how hard you try you’re just not going to have the same social interaction with your letter box.


Yes, I know the offers that you get when you subscribe to a magazine: “Three free issues – when you sign up for a year”, “Free copies of our sister magazines”, etc. One things to realise is that the magazine company is probably receiving more money from you than if you went and bought it at a local newsagents. On the one hand, you’re saving money but, on the other hand, the extra money that the magazine company is getting is leaving your local economy and is potentially leading to a decline in local newsagents. It may sound purist of me… but I like my local newsagents and I really don’t mind payign a little extra for my magazines in order to keep them there.

So there you have it. Those are my basic reasons for why magazine subscriptions are evil. I’m sure there are other reasons out there, and I’m sure there are plenty of people out there that think that my arguments are ridiculous. So make up your own minds, after all this is a free country we’re living in.

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