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Keith Robinson
Posted on Tuesday, March 09, 2004 - 12:30 pm:   

I haven't posted here before so excuse me if this has already been brought up.

I really think that, if I take the time to subscribe to a magazine and thus ensure continuing business for a year, it would be nice if the magazine could reach my mailbox in a decent condition. The last one not only had dog-eared corners and a dent right across the middle, but the address sticker was plastered in the center of the cover art. Nice.

Tell me again: exactly WHY is it better to subscribe and have the magazine arrive looking like it's been trodden on by a herd of elephants, when I can go to Barnes & Noble and pick up a fresh copy in mint-condition copy? Oh, yes, the reduced cost.

A simple envelope or cellophane wrapper wouldn't go amiss, though! I have SFX magazine sent all the way from the UK (to the USA) and it generally arrives in far better condition than Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine.
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Michael White
Posted on Tuesday, March 09, 2004 - 07:17 pm:   

I have not ever had that problem, then again I get it after my friend is through with it. Maybe he repairs them first, then again the last straw would be the sticker if it wasnt just so much fun to peal off.
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Keith Robinson
Posted on Tuesday, March 09, 2004 - 07:41 pm:   

If the sticker peeled off without taking the magazine cover with it, it wouldn't be so bad! But honestly, every issue I've had has been dog-eared or beaten up in some way. This last one was the last straw for me, with the label literally across the center, covering up the picture and the author names. Tsk.

It's not surprising, though -- you take a mint condition paperbook book, stick an address label on the front, and send it somewhere. Would you expect it to be in the same condition when it gets there? Not a chance!

I'm not going to subscribe again unless F&SF make some attempt to protect their issues when they send them. My subscription runs out this month.

I mean (he said, getting all indignant), I don't actually expect to keep it in mint condition, and it'll probably get beaten up by the time I'm through -- but I think the choice to have a beaten up copy should be made BY me, not FOR me!

Hissy fit over now. :-)
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ET
Posted on Wednesday, March 10, 2004 - 02:14 am:   

Maybe the mail service has something against F&SF?

Anyway, I hear you. Subscription problems can cause me to stop subscribing, and getting mangled issues would certainly be a problem. Don't compare to SFX, though, since these British mags charge an arm and a leg for shipping. That said, I get several US magazines, and they always arrive in good condition even after travelling the seas or skies.
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Andrew Grossman
Posted on Wednesday, March 10, 2004 - 05:27 am:   

Keith Robinson, could you please email us at FandSF@aol.com? We tried emailing a Keith Robinson at whiteoakdesign.com but the email bounced back to us.
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Andrew Nicolle
Posted on Wednesday, March 10, 2004 - 07:05 am:   

I don't usually have a problem with the condition of F&SF, but my copies of Asimov's and Analog are almost always mangled. There was some discussion about plastic covers last year on the Asimov's discussion board. I don't think anything has changed, though.
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Alan T. Sippola
Posted on Wednesday, March 10, 2004 - 08:01 pm:   


Hi, Andrew! ;-)

I have never known anyone more qualified to provide honest, sincere, and dedicated service to the reader of "The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction", than Andrew Grossman.

He is the absolute greatest, Gordon.


~ Alan ~
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R.Wilder
Posted on Thursday, March 11, 2004 - 08:45 am:   

Generally, my "Asimov's" and "F&SF" arrive in good condition. This month is the first time the mailing label was smack dab in the middle of the cover art, but I was able to peel it off with minimal damage.
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Sean Forbes
Posted on Thursday, March 11, 2004 - 10:42 am:   

As someone who does subscription customer service (for a company I cannot disclose the name of ;) :p ) I can safely say it's nothing that F&SF is doing and if they did do something preventative, there would be a trade off.

I don't know about F&SF or Asimov's (mine have always come pristine) but our magazines are sent 3rd class, no special bagging or protection. But the cost is about 60% off the newstand price. We also have a very easy 'replacement' policy. Even so, I've still talked to many consumers who insist we should put them in a bag, or mail them first class. I think any of us who've mailed a manuscript anywhere have some idea how much first class shipping on something magazine sized would be. So that could easily double the cost (or more) right there. Putting a bag around each issue faces the same cost issue.

So yes, if you are willing to pay more for a pristine copy, newsstand is probably best for you.

Me, I beat up my copies enough just reading them over and over again to not worry about it. :p
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R.Wilder
Posted on Thursday, March 11, 2004 - 11:58 am:   

I'm a subscriber for the stories, not a collector. Used to be a collector and I was obsessive about everything ---books and magazines---being in mint condition. Over the years, working for bookstores, record stores and radio stations, my impulses have changed. Now I not only don't need things in pristine condition, I also don't need EVERYTHING. Part of that is probably aging and realizing I can't read, listen and watch everything.
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David Travis
Posted on Thursday, March 11, 2004 - 01:33 pm:   

Well, I'm another who has never had a single problem with their subscription. In fact, I really should commend F&SF for putting together the magazine as well as they do. I've got over a years worth of issues in my car - somehow they all seem to end up there - and they've held up to the temp and humidity changes quite well. Better than some of the books in my car (the bindings don't seem to like Memphis humidty).

and no, i don't drive a bookmobile. :-)
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ET
Posted on Thursday, March 11, 2004 - 01:53 pm:   

My copies of F&SF never get damaged physically since they're electronic copies I buy at Fictionwise. :-)
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Alan T. Sippola
Posted on Thursday, March 11, 2004 - 05:05 pm:   


I must confess that on a few occasions, my copies, too, have arrived in the mail in an unpleasant condition, a badly torn cover, bent up with bad creases in them, appearing as though the mail carrier read my copy first before I did, during his much too long lunch break (I know that this is an actual fact with certain mail carriers of the delivery of our mail, from knowledge I received from an inside source at my Post Office), bullet holes through them, or appeared as though someone actually took a chainsaw to it, and I quickly notified F&SF, with my copy being replaced very promptly and courteously, with no questions asked.
I save every one of my issues, and I would at least like to keep them in a decent condition for myself and to whomever I later will them to when I'm gone. After that, I won't give a hoot one way or the other, on what happens! :-)

By the way, I hope I'm not alone in saying this, but we need the availability again of binders and/or library slip cases for those of us who wish to organize and protect our valuable copies of "Fantasy & Science Fiction", for that future rereading enjoyment in the years to come, which I understand from a reply I received from their customer service department some time ago, to an e-mail inquiry I made to "Jesse Jones Box Company", that they ceased operations in that division of the company at the end of December 1999 to individual customers who wish to purchase them directly from the company, and it is now left up to the discretion of the magazine publishers themselves as to whether or not they wish to make them available to their readers.

Well, anyhow, back to the subject of damaged magazines. The problem here lies not in pointing fingers and putting any of the blame on the publisher, or its distributor, etc., but with the Postal Service and their terribly poor and careless handing of our mail. And I must admit, I have done my fair share of complaining to them, either one on one with the Postal Manager at my PO, or in forms that I've filled out and letters written and sent to the U.S. Postmaster General for his immediate attention. It's them who needs the scolding and good spanking, people, not F&SF, or some other magazine publisher. If the Postal Service receives enough complaints about a certain issue that's a major concern with its boo coo customers, I think they'll finally get the hint to lay off of our merchandise like they have been.
I advise you to catch them on a Monday morning, too, so they can have a bad hair day, when you rear back on your heels and bellow.

Nuff said.


~ Alan ~
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Michael Samerdyke
Posted on Friday, March 12, 2004 - 08:23 am:   

When I have had a problem with my subscription, F&SF has been very good about sending a replacement copy.

I subscribe because I don't live near any big bookstores. The nearest B&N is over an hour away in a different state. The nearest Borders is 4 hours away, in yet another state. So I subscribe and am happy.
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PL Ferguson
Posted on Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 10:46 am:   

Hey Everyone,
Ask to have the Mag sent to you in a "kraft bag"...costs a little extra but the Mag comes to you untouched by human hands.

Now if I could just get AMFSF to do the same...
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Pat M.
Posted on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 06:12 pm:   

Michael Samerdyke - I have concerns about the state you live in...

:-)
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Dale R. Gowin
Posted on Friday, October 21, 2005 - 08:10 pm:   

I stopped subscribing because of the subscription labels on the cover art. For one issue during my last subscription, a label was used that peeled off easily leaving no damage, but then with the next issue we were right back to the unremovable stickers. If there were a way to use only cleanly removable stickers, I would subscribe again in a heartbeat. A plastic bag around the mag would be an even better solution. I'm sure I'm not alone in this reaction.
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Stephen
Posted on Saturday, October 22, 2005 - 03:28 am:   

Resubscribe and you'll be fine.
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Happy Subscriber
Posted on Saturday, October 22, 2005 - 09:54 am:   

I've heard you can order subscriptions that come in manila envelopes if you're willing to pay a little extra. You could try asking about that. I looked on the website, but didn't see any information about it, but I'm sure I've heard people say that on message boards before.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Saturday, October 22, 2005 - 02:49 pm:   

Happy subscriber is correct. Please email us through the Website if you want more info.

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