Monday, November 1, 2010

Spending $1,100: It's All in a Day’s Work

Hey fellow Edsters!

So every month, when the newest issue of The Mag comes out, bookstores, newsstands and subscribers aren’t the only ones anxious for their spanking new copies. In fact, when it comes to national magazines, among the first to get the new issues are all the other international editions of the publication. Yup — I’m talking The Mag in India, The Mag in Czech Republic, and The Mag editions in Japan and South Africa. They all get copies of the US edition shipped to their offices with love by the features interns in the New York Editorial Office.

The work is tedious and it’s the same every month. Basically, UPS forms are filled out online, specifying what’s being sent, how much it weighs, its declared value and how it needs to be delivered. And after filling this out for 25+ international editions, plus printing the labels, stuffing the envelopes and shipping off all the packages, you’ve definitely fulfilled your interning duties for the day.

But so today, as I was clicking and licking away, I found it super interesting that to send ONE COPY of the magazine, a one-pound shipment can cost anywhere from $60 to 130 USD! And that’s not even over-nighting it! Granted, our mag has special accounts set up with UPS that dramatically drop these costs (to $20 to $55 each), but still, that sounded like a ton!! So interested, I did some quick math and found that EVERY MONTH my mag spends $1,100 to send the new edition to its sister publications. (Without the special discounts, that number would skyrocket up to $2,500 USD!!!). Of course, this doesn’t even factor in the costs of the envelopes or the mailings to international authors and such. Plus some editions, like The UK Version, receive 8 copies, which hikes their UPS shipment price way up!

So while this isn’t the most fascinating of posts, (kind of like it’s not the most fascinating of tasks), it does offer perspective into the tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes details, expenses and efforts that go into each issue of The Mag. And I guess in the end, it’s a reciprocated practice, because one of our upcoming US issues will include an American spin-off of a feature just published in The Australian Edition of The Mag. Sounds like this process keeps the magazine brands consistent and the magazine readers worldly.

What do you think, Edsters? Is this an example of why print is getting so costly that web will soon take over?

Until next time,
Features Intern


  1. I wonder why they don't just submit a list to the printers and have the comp copies mailed out straight from the press along with all the other subscriptions. This is how it was done at the magazine I worked at. Saves the intern's time and likely costs too