Recently I received a bill for my subscription to Chicago magazine and was surprised to see my renewal rate was $30/year. I couldn’t remember if it was this much when I originally subscribed, but I really wanted to keep this magazine. I love the city of Chicago, which is why I originally subscribed, and the articles are really well done.
I remembered seeing magazine subscriptions on eBay so I headed over there to see if Chicago was available and what it was going for. I found quite a few listings for subscriptions, some as low as $5.99/year (at a Buy It Now price, so no bidding). One of the sellers had a FAQ section that explained that they were able to offer a subscription so cheaply because the magazine publishers make most of their money on advertising, not subscriptions. I wonder how these sellers obtain the subscriptions to sell?
Now, here’s the word of caution: In the process of writing this blog entry I went the Chicago magazine website and found this notice to subscribers:
Chicago magazine recently became aware of evidence that an unauthorized third party has been improperly billing our renewing subscribers. For example, invoices for inflated amounts were sent to our customers, who reported them to us through normal customer service channels. We immediately began working with the proper authorities to prevent this type of activity from occurring in the future, because we are determined to protect the trust that our readers have placed in us.
The actual price of a subscription? $17.95 for one year, $29.95 for two. That’s still enough of a difference that I’ll probably try the eBay route but it was good info to have. The notice to subscribers stated that this was a real problem for the industry (also good to know) and it included this blurb:
Although we are trying to assess the extent of the problem we believe our loyal subscribers will recognize a fraudulent invoice when they see one. Official Chicago magazine invoices prominently display the magazine logo and the correct renewal price.
Clearly not the case for me since I was planning on paying the invoice before I checked out eBay.
Another source for cheap reading: I was surprised this week to see my local Costco carrying magazines at 30% off the cover price. That’s a new Costco development…at least in my neck of the woods. There was quite a variety to choose from, too.