THE FUTURE OF BROKEN ARROW: Editorial in June 2013 Issue
Vienna - 2008
Photo by Thomas Ziedler
The latest issue of Broken Arrow Magazine, published by the Neil Young Appreciation Society recently hit the streets and we're now finishing up reading the issue. As always a nice read -- especially as we look back while looking ahead.
In particular, we would like to bring to your attention an important editorial from Scott Sandie regarding the future of Broken Arrow Magazine. We have been in touch with Scott and would like to hear from readers on their thoughts on future publication. Drop a comment below.
The time has come to make changes in the way that Broken Arrow is published. For the past three years we have been struggling with increasing costs generally and the spiralling cost of postage in particular. These increases have (apparently) been required as part of moves to privatize The Post Office here in the UK. The reality is that a magazine that three years ago cost less than £3 to post airmail to the USA now costs £4.20 (nearly $7). That’s an increase of 40%. We have raised subscriptions to cover some of these recent postage increases but you might remember we decided to absorb last years. Presently a US subscription is $41 and needs to go to $45 this year and higher in future. The cost for Europe in terms of increases is no better. In the past many of you have said that you will pay whatever rate is required and many members also make annual donations to the NYAS – some quite substantial. Both gestures are much appreciated, but Jo and I are increasingly uncomfortable with a subscription that could go to $50 or more – it just gets silly.When we initially read this, we were concerned about the log term future of both Broken Arrow & NYAS. Keeping these orgs strong and ongoing should be everyone's goal. We've been a supporter of NYAS going into our 4th decade now and hope it continues its long run.
We have costed out postage alternatives (especially bulk carrier to the US and Europe and then local distribution) but the saving isn’t that significant and this route adds a layer of complexity to the operation. We have also considered printing fewer pages to get the weight of the magazine below 100grams for printed paper – the lowest category possible – and therefore a reduced postage rate. But to achieve that an issue would only be roughly half the size it currently is, and we have rejected that too.
However the NYAS and Broken Arrow have been a major part of our lives for the past 12 years and after 130 issues since 1981 we are determined to keep it going if at all possible. And I’m very conscious that a big part of BA’s attraction is that it is a paper magazine that you can hold in your hands and read at your leisure, without squinting at a screen. I have said in the past that we won’t move to a purely web-based magazine and I stand by that. But we can’t increase subscriptions to the required level and need to find another way forward. Our proposal is this:
Jo and I will carry on doing exactly what we do just now, but Broken Arrow will be made available quarterly as a downloadable file. Subscriptions will be significantly reduced to £5 (or equivalent) per annum The magazine will look almost exactly as it does just now. Those members who are happy reading it on screen can do so. Those who would prefer to read a hard copy can print it off. If you want a neat copy for your collection you can go to your local print shop and have it properly printed and bound, using your saved subscription cash! It might be possible for some kind of ‘print-on-demand’ service to be established in each country or continent, with an agent (possibly an NYAS member) co-ordinating the printing for those keen on that. This possibility will be investigated in the coming months.
We propose to start this new approach from March 2014. To get to this position we will produce paper magazines for September and December 2013. March 2014 will be our first download. The cost of subscription renewals for the rest of this year will be pro-rated on the number of printed magazines you still have to pay for (either two or one). The new subscription rate of £5 (or the dollar/euro equivalent) will start from March 2014. To reduce costs we will be looking to phase out payment by manual cheques; payment will be online, via PayPal or bank transfer online for preference - but by cheque if you really can’t do that. There will be a small number of members who have paid beyond March 2014 and we will allocate future subscriptions at the new rate from those monies (so your money is now going much further into the future!)
I am very conscious there are some NYAS members who do not have a computer and rely on the paper magazine for their Neil Young information. I believe most local libraries offer free internet access and a small charge for printing. Your challenge in the next nine months will be to make sure you learn how to use these facilities so that you can access and print the file off. Once you’ve worked out the routine it shouldn’t be difficult. We hope to run trials in September and December.
In a way, I am sorry we have had to make this decision but we think it is the best option available. However, one big bonus with a file is that the magazine will be in full colour, and should look really good when printed! (Well, if you have it printed in colour…) Up until December 31st we will continue to accept new members but their subscription will also be pro-rated on the number of magazines that they will receive up to March 2014.
One final point. There may be someone out there who would rather take the NYAS and Broken Arrow forward in a new and creative way. Jo and I would step aside in the coming months if someone comes forward with an attractive proposal. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to discuss this and we welcome your thoughts on this whole subject. Remember – it’s your society and your magazine.
NYAS and Scott would like to hear from readers on your thoughts on future publication. Drop a comment below.
For more information and subscription information visit the Neil Young Appreciation Society or directly contact NYAS editor Scott Sandie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't be denied!
Thanks Scott and everyone who is supporting the NYAS & BA!
Thrasher - NYAS#2476
More on back issues of Broken Arrow magazine.