Monday, July 21, 2008

Pay Attention to those Magazine Renewal Notices!

We've subscribed to Scientific American for a couple of years now. We've tried a few different science magazines, and found them all to be either too technical, too dumbed-down, or on topics that aren't of interest to our family. But we've found SciAm to be a good fit for us.

However, like any magazine, they've been sending us the standard "WARNING!! YOUR SUBSCRIPTION IS ABOUT TO EXPIRE!!" letters for the past several months, about six months before expiration actually occurs. And they kindly offer us a 1-year renewal for $34.97. Or we can get a 3-year renewal for $88, which comes to $29.33 a year.

The subscription rate seems kind of high, and I clearly remember paying quite a bit less for it when we initially subscribed. Sure enough, when you visit their website, they offer a 1 year subscription for--get this--$24.97.

Bizarre, isn't it?

Maybe I'll just let that subscription expire, and then re-subscribe at the lower rate.


HOWARD'S said...

Have you ever noticed that the price they quote you on your "final" notices are usually different? I don't get it. I never renew through their ads. I usually do an online search for the best deal. CRAZY!

Katie Parker said...

Strangely, I think my "final" notices have always had the same prices as my "almost final" and "really almost final" notices. I have checked this before.

In fact, I remember getting one early renewal notice that promised they were giving me the best price NOW, and I wouldn't necessarily get it later. And they kept that promise. The next notice had higher prices. So I renewed with the form on the previous notice. Is that cheating?

Anyway, your strategy is definitely financially smarter than mine (blindly renewing from the little form they send me) has been. Way to go!

Carroll said...

I just got that kind of reminder for my subscription to Arizona Highways. After reading your post, I'm thinking that instead of sending that form in, I'll see what kind of deal I can find online .

Another aargh: Each year, I send a subscription of the same magazine to my daughter in Germany. The cost was almost double what I pay to get the magazine delivered stateside.! You can't convince me the postage and handling costs them that much!

Katie Parker said...

Yeah, Carroll! That's the spirit!!

As for the magazine to Germany, I haven't done anything like that yet. But I did buy some books for my brother-in-law in England through The prices of the books were pretty comparable, but ordering a shipment in the UK gave us Amazon's free super saver shipping. That was pretty cool. That was a couple of years ago, though; I don't know if the exchange rates are so favorable now. Good luck!

PraManha said...

I worked for the Circulation department of a magazine and asked the same question about rates when I first started. The low rates you see online and with insert cards are a way to entice new people to subscribe. Publications actually loose money on these offers but hope to make it up with the (usually small) percentage of new subscribers that renew. If you see a cheaper price somewhere else you might be able to use this to negotiate a cheaper rate for your own renewal. Don't believe that waiting for a "final" notice will automatically result in being quoted a lower price. That doesn't always happen.

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