The STACK Blog
It’s that time again – the D&AD Awards 2010 are open for entry, so if you think you’re deserving of one of their lovely shiny yellow pencils get your entry in by 27 January. Or even better, get your entry in by 18 November and you’ll get a 10% discount on the price.
Hot on the heels of last week’s interview with Bigna from The Drawbridge is this from The Wire’s Tony Herrington. We spoke on Friday and he filled me in on how he got started at the magazine, how he became publisher and editor in chief, and how The Wire is managing to swim against the tide and increase its sales.
I spoke to The Drawbridge‘s exuberant editor Bigna Pfenninger last week and spent half an hour chatting with her about making a literary magazine that’s not a ‘literary magazine’, and why she has so little time for editors. See below for the whole transcript…
It’s a year now since I first started working on the idea that turned into Stack, and looking back there are some bits I’m very pleased with and some bits that need to change.
The things I’m most pleased about are the quality of the magazines I’ve been able to send and the enthusiasm of the community that’s building around Stack. I had no way of knowing at the start that so many publishers would throw their weight behind the idea, and I’m incredibly grateful to them all for their support and advice, and of course their magazines.
It’s also fantastic to have so many subscribers who take the time to let me know they’re enjoying the service, and who recommend Stack to friends. There’s no money here for advertising so Stack really depends on word of mouth to keep on growing.
Which brings me neatly onto the main thing that needs to change about Stack. When I started out the business plan looked great, but then Royal Mail put up its postage prices at the start of April, and a series of other unanticipated costs have rolled in.
Stack isn’t in dire straits but it will be if I don’t do something about its finances, so I’m going to raise the subscription price from 1 November. It’s still going to be brilliant value, but it will also be sustainable enough for me to carry on sourcing and sending out the world’s best independent magazines into next year and beyond.
So what will it cost? The average price of the magazines I’ve sent out so far is £4.68 – that’s what it would have cost, on average, if you’d bought them off the shelf in any shop in the UK. I wanted to keep the subscription price below that, so from 1 November anyone buying a UK subscription to Stack will pay £4 or a bit less per issue. A full list of subscription prices is included below.
Overseas subscriptions will cost more per issue to cover the increased cost of sending magazines by airmail, but even with the higher prices it will often still be cheaper to buy from Stack than to buy the same magazines off the shelf overseas. And of course in many cities around the world it’s just not possible to buy one-off issues of the magazines available on Stack.
So if you’ve been thinking about subscribing to Stack, or if you know somebody else who’s mulling it over, make sure you (or they) sign up before 1 November to avoid paying the higher prices. Then sit back and watch the magazines drop onto your doormat through 2010.
New prices from 1 November 2009
Deliveries within the UK
Six magazines – £24
Eight magazines – £32
Twelve magazines – £45
Deliveries within Europe
Six magazines – £42
Eight magazines £56
Twelve magazines £81
Deliveries to the rest of the world
Six magazines – £65
Eight magazines – £87
Twelve magazines – £129
I’ve been a member of YCN‘s lending library for a while now, so I’m very pleased that from now on visitors to the Rivington Street library/gallery/shop/office will be able to pick up a copy of the current Stack delivery.
I’ll be delivering to YCN every month, so stop by and you’ll be able to flick through the latest Stack magazine plus any other interesting bits that have been sent out to subscribers. This month, for example, there’s The Wire alongside the Little White Lies mini mag and Anonthology – both well worth a few minutes of your time.
And Stack’s in good company. As well as a broad selection of books to browse and borrow, YCN has a small but high quality collection of magazines for sale including its own Ideas Illustrated (new issue out soon – watch here for news as I get it).
It’s made by Fourth Estate, an imprint of British publisher Harper Collins, and is a very simple 32-page magazine containing nine short stories. It’s held together by a couple of staples and the design is nice but nothing out of the ordinary.
The clever bit is that the contributing authors are listed on the front cover but their names are blocked out on the stories themselves, leaving readers to match up authors with stories. As the magazine’s introduction explains, the anthology is “an experimental project to assess the importance placed on name and reputation over quality of writing” and it’s also a fun bit of guesswork as readers try to work out who wrote what.
There’s even a competition running until the end of this month that invites readers to send in their guesses to win a haul of Fourth Estate books.
As with yesterday’s mini mags, all Stack subscribers will receive a copy of Anonthology with their October delivery (which should be arriving any time now). I’ve got a few spare copies of Anonthology though, so if you want one drop me a line and let me know. I can only send out to the UK for free, but if you’re overseas and you want one get in touch and I’ll let you know how much it will cost for me to send over to you.
Little White Lies has come up with a novel way of winning over a few new readers – they’ve printed up several thousand miniaturised copies of their current issue and they’re giving them away in shops and bars and other likely places around the UK.
They’re brilliantly put together, containing the magazine’s main long review (it runs over five pages and doesn’t seem to be cut), plus interviews taken from the current issue and nicely designed pages of testimonials that sing the praises of the magazine.
And the best bit is that with five pages of solid advertising out of the 36, the mini mags pay for themselves. Genius.
All Stack subscribers will be receiving a copy with their main pack this month, and I’ve got a few left over so if you’re not a subscriber but you’d like to see a copy drop me a line and I’ll put one in the post to you.
Oh, and they’re asking you to get involved with the next issue. Page 33 of the mini mag is left blank with just the Little White Lies masthead and you’re invited to draw your own Where the Wild Things Are cover, to be featured in the next issue. You don’t need the mini mag for that though as you can also enter online.
Dedicated followers will already know that Stack has just welcomed two new magazines to its line up. The Wire and The Ride Journal landed on the site on Monday night night and Tuesday morning respectively, but even if you’ve already clicked on the covers you should take a look at The Wire’s page again, which now includes The Stack Interview with staffer Ben House.
It goes without saying that I’m very excited to welcome both titles to the Stack fold. The Wire has been advertising in Stack for ages now so it’s about time that it was brought on as a fully fledged magazine, complete with its unique biannual Wire Tapper CD. And The Ride Journal is a wonderful new title that has been produced as a real labour of love, but which is seeing steady growth as each issue goes by. Issue three is due out at the end of next month and I can’t wait to see what they’ve done with it.
But of course there’s always room for more great magazines on Stack, so if you know of a title that should be part of the best independent magazine club in the world, drop me a line on email@example.com.