SUBSCRIPTIONS – BLOG #57

I guess you could say I grew up in the golden age of car magazines. Hot Rod, Car Craft, SS & DI, Cars; you name them, I read them. Even had a subscription to my illustrious associate Jon Asher’s doomed title, American Drag Racing. That one lasted only three issues before Asher realized how much money he was losing. Today, a lot of those other titles are gone in the same manner. I still have piles of those magazines in my basement, much like I’m sure a lot of you do also. It takes quite a bit of money to sustain a print magazine and the “we want it now” society we live in are giving people what they want on that giant news site, the Internet.

However, that doesn’t mean magazines are totally dead. Far from it. Yeah, you might think it’s close, but I truly believe people still appreciate holding a piece of paper in their hands and sitting down to read. Okay, we have Kindles, e-Readers, tablets and even smartphones and whatever else you want to call them, but I don’t believe it’s the same. So, maybe I’m old school, but my attention span for a story on the web isn’t much longer than what I call, a computer-screen length. If the story is any longer than that, I don’t want to read it. I may scroll down to the end to get to the bottom line of it all, but that’s about it. But I will read a three-four-five-six page story in a magazine.

Because of our attention span, it appears a person doesn’t mind reading a “long” print story, and in fact probably expect it. Whereas on online, people want the facts; a print story can delve further.

The concern with a print issue is obviously advertising, but it’s also subscription based. Back in that golden age, subscribers numbered in the tens of thousands. That’s where you got your news. I can remember riding my bicycle across town to the one store which had the best selection of magazines. I don’t know if kids these days are even riding bicycles, but the days of a store carrying hoards of titles are long gone. Does that point to print is dead? No, it just means it has to change.

We’ve changed. Drag Racing Edge isn’t available on a newsstand. It’s subscription only and part of the reason for that is that newsstands are owned by only a small number of distribution companies, regardless of what store they are in. And each of those companies take a cut of the magazine price. I understand that. That’s the capitalism system we live in today. Nothing wrong with it. But for us at Drag Racing Edge, we can’t afford that and as such, we leave the distribution of our paper to you the subscriber.

There are only a few of us print magazines left and I can tell you we all need your support. About the only thing I can say is we hope you would subscribe to one of us because as our e-mail blasts mention, “Support those who support the sport.”

I mention this every time I send out these weekly blogs, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for being a subscriber. That’s not an empty *saying.” It’s true. Your support of our magazine allows us to tell the stories behind the stories. It allows us to dig deeper into a person, a tech article and even a race report. Whereas magazines in the past would “cover” races and provide race results, we don’t. That is what we have our website for – www.dragracingedge.com. When we “cover” a race in our print edition, it’s to tell the story from a behind the scenes aspect.

I sometimes hear that people won’t spend the money for a magazine subscription but will be more than happy to spend thousands on a new engine or any other doo-dad for their racer. I don’t believe that to be true. In this case, please help me prove “those people” wrong.

To our “just” thousands of subscribers – THANK YOU. And to those yet on the fence for doing so, please do. I think you’ll like what you get. -JOHN DiBARTOLOMEO