Tag: subscriptions

My Active Magazine Subscriptions and Where I Read Them

Because I need a break from work, and to have a nice reference point, here is a listing of my active magazine subscriptions and where I read them:

  1. Analog Science Fiction (Kindle App)
  2. Apex Magazine (Kindle App)
  3. Asimov’s Science Fiction (Kindle App)
  4. Clarkesworld (Kindle App)
  5. Daily Science Fiction (Email)
  6. Fantasy & Science Fiction (Kindle App)
  7. InterGalactic Medicine Show (Kindle App)
  8. Lightspeed  Magazine (Kindle App)
  9. LOCUS Magazine (Kindle App via PDF)
  10. New Scientist (Zinio App)
  11. Rolling Stone (Zinio App)
  12. Scientific American (Kindle App via PDF)
  13. SFWA Bulletin (Print1)
  14. Time Magazine (via Apple Newsstand)
  15. Writer’s Digest (Kindle App via PDF)

I recently gave up my subscription to Discover Magazine (via Zinio) because I never read it. I just couldn’t get into it. I replaced it with the subscription to Writer’s Digest, which I initially subscribed to so I could read a good article by fellow writer’s group member Joanna Castle Miller. I decided the magazine was pretty good so I’m keeping that subscription.

I try to keep up with all of them as best as I can, although I do get behind and don’t read every word of every issue. The only magazine that I really don’t read at all is Time, but Kelly reads it (we also receive the print edition).

If you exclude Daily Science Fiction, which publishes on short story every weekday, that amounts to 19 issues each and every month.

  1. It is not available in electronic format.

Scientific American on the iPad!

I have occasionally complained that Scientific American was not available on the iPad. At present, it is the only magazine I receive that I don’t get in electronic format. That includes all 6 of my science fiction magazine subscriptions and 2 science magazine subscriptions. I have received New Scientist on the iPad (via Zinio) since last May. And earlier this month I subscribed to Discover magazine via Zinio as well.

I have read Scientific American longer than any of the other science magazines. I believe I’ve had an active subscription to the magazine since 1996. It seemed odd that it was the only magazine that I couldn’t read on my iPad. Every now and then I’d check but I didn’t see anything for the iPad, other than an “app” that had a kind of special issue of the magazine.

But I’d noticed that they had a digital subscription a while back. The problem was the digital subscription was for a PDF of the magazine, and for some reason, my addled brain didn’t think that would work very well. But yesterday I asked myself, “Why not?” So I decided to try it out. I plunked down $5.99 for a single issue of the digital version and decided to compare it to the print edition. And you know what? Just like New Scientist, there was not difference. And it was just as easy to read on the iPad.


When I got the PDF for the issue, I sent it to the Kindle email address for my iPad and the screenshot above shows what the cover looks like inside the Kindle App, compared to the actual paper issue. Obviously, the screen is a little smaller than the paper issue, but an occasional zoom gesture inside the kindle app makes things perfectly readable.

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An open letter to New Scientist’s subscription department

Dear New Scientist,

I received a letter from you today that opens as follows:

Dear Mr. Rubin,

I admire the boldness of your scientific experiment. You wanted to determine how long you could go without benefiting from the insight and intelligence that New Scientist had been delivering to your door in each weekly issue.

The letter goes on for six more paragraphs before concluding with the following post script:

If you weren’t conducting a “nobel experiment,” I’d be grateful to know the reason you’re not renewing your subscription. Please use the back of the renewal form to let us know where we went wrong, and return it in the pre-stamped envelope.

The letter is signed by your editor, Jeremy Webb.

Well, Mr. Webb, the fact is that none of the circumstances listed above apply. I still receive my issues of New Scientist every week, still read them with as much interest as always. The misunderstanding seems to be with how your various systems communicate with one another.

For a year or so now, each of your issues contains a full-page ad for getting New Scientist on the iPad via the Zinio app. Back on May 21, 2011, I finally decided to take you up on the idea of reading New Scientist on the iPad. I subscribed to it via Zinio. Of course, I still received the print issue until my print subscription ran out in October. Certainly you would agree that there is no value in my having both a print and digital subscription, when the digital subscription is perfect for my needs.

It surprises me that a science-minded organization would not have its data-ducks in a row and be able to match digital subscriptions to print subscribers so that when someone switched, you’d know that you hadn’t lost a subscriber, that they had merely changed subscription methods. I don’t think it falls under my responsibility to have to make you aware of this when I do change my subscription methods. I do so here only because I’ve received half a dozen letters asking me why I haven’t renewed. I have renewed, I’ve just renewed digitally.

What is most interesting is that in your letter, you don’t even seems to consider a switch to the digital version a possibility. Instead, you write:

I must assume that your experiment has been “pure”–that you have not been picking up copies of New Scientist at a newsstand.

I have not. I have been getting them through my Zinio subscription. I still read and enjoy each issue of New Scientist. Just not the paper edition.

I hope that future version of this letter will not be necessary because you’ll be able to match data from your Zinio subscriptions to your print subscription. But in the invent that you can’t figure out a way of doing that, at least consider the possibility that some of us like reading New Scientist entirely in digital format.


Jamie Todd Rubin

Subscription guilt

I try to have most of my magazine subscriptions renew around the end of the year. Many of them do, but not all of them. But this year I have a bit of a dilemma. I have 4 subscriptions which still arrive in paper form, but 3 of those 4 subscriptions I also receive electronically. Two of these are up for renewal in their print form: New Scientist and Analog.

My dilemma: I receive both of these electronically, New Scientist through Zinio and Analog on the Kindle. This means I’ve been paying for 2 subscriptions for each. It seems silly to pay for both paper and electronic subscriptions, especially since I am continually trying to decrease the amount of paper I handle. But at the same time, it’s difficult to cancel the paper subscriptions for these two magazines. I’ve been a long-time subscriber to both New Scientist and Analog. I feel guilty canceling the subscriptions even though I still receive them in other forms. In the case of Analog, I don’t want my cancellation to negatively affect Analog’s subscription numbers, but I don’t know how they count Kindle subscriptions. The one should offset the other. New Scientist has been sending me renewal notices, but seems to have no idea that I subscribe through Zinio. I wish these systems were better coordinated.

One might say that I could continue my Analog subscription. It’s only $35/year or so. But since I already get Analog on the Kindle, wouldn’t that $35 be better spend on subscribing to another magazine? Indeed, I’ve added subscriptions to Lightspeed and Clarkesworld over the last few months and I like getting all of those magazines. Isn’t that worth sacrificing the paper version of Analog? Perhaps, but I still feel guilty about it.

I suppose I’d feel better if I knew that the Kindle and Zinio subscriptions were accurately counted in the circulation and were tied back to my original subscription, so that it didn’t seem like I canceled my subscription to the magazine without them realizing it was merely just a change to a different format.

I know this must sound silly, but I do find myself facing this subscription guilt at this time of the year. But if I go completely paperless with Analog and New Scientist, it means that the only subscriptions I still get on paper are Time Magazine and Scientific American, and I also get Time electronically as part of my paper subscription. (There, the model is stilly: you can’t get an electronic subscription without a paper subscription. Kind of goes against the whole “going paperless” thing. Scientific American doesn’t yet have a non-PDF electronic subscription mechanism that I am aware of.

Going into 2012, therefore, I’ll be getting Analog, Asimov’s Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, F&SF, New Scientist and Time magazine all electronically. Time will also still come on paper, as will Scientific American.

It’s about Time (Magazine)

Not that I need even more to read, but I had a very good offer for a subscription to Time magazine and yesterday, I signed up. I was really on the fence about it, given how much I already have to read, but one-and-a-half things pushed me over.

First, free with my subscription is access to the iPad edition of the magazine. And second (the “half” thing), is that I don’t watch the news or read the papers and can barely keep up with what’s going on in the world. Maybe this would help fill that gap.

Once I was subscribed I had instant access to the iPad version of the August 1 issue, which I downloaded and read on the iPad. I was hoping it would be an exact replica of the actual issue, the way that New Scientist is on Zinio, but it isn’t. I looks like all of the articles and sections are there, but it is more interactive than New Scientist. I suppose this is the direction for magazines like these and it will take some getting used to. That said, it wasn’t bad and I was able to get through the magazine before bed last night.

The print issues will begin arriving in 3-4 weeks, but I don’t really see the point. The fact is they will get thrown away or recycled. I wish there was an option to get the iPad edition by subscription but there isn’t. In fact, their pricing of individual issues is way out of whack for the print+digital subscription. I paid less than $30 for 56 issues. That includes print and iPad versions. But without a print subscription, individual iPad issues of Time magazine cost $4.99 each!

In any case, I am happy I can get the issues on the iPad, even though they are not in the same format as New Scientist. And I am hopeful that I will be a little more up on current events than I have been.

Going digital: New Scientist

I’ve been a subscriber to New Scientist since October 2008. It is my primary source of keeping up with science and technology each week. For those who’ve never read it (or heard of it), New Scientist is a weekly science magazine out of the UK. It is usually around 48 pages and contains a summary of science and technology news, opinion pieces and op eds, as well as three or four feature articles in each issue. There are also book reviews, and letter columns. It is my favorite science magazine and I’ve tried very hard (although at times unsuccessfully) to read every issue cover-to-cover.

Back when I got my iPad, I downloaded the Zinio app which provides access to scores of magazine subscriptions in digital format. The nice thing about the application is that the digital version of magazine looks exactly the same, page-for-page, as the print edition. At first, I bought a single copy of New Scientist to see how it felt on the iPad. When I found that it was just like reading the print issue, I subscribed to the digital edition for a year, despite already having a print subscription.

This weekend, I received in the mail my renewal for the New Scientist print edition. And after some teeth gnashing, I decided that I was not going to renew the print edition when it comes up in October. I’m going to go entirely digital with New Scientist.  There was one thing that made this particularly difficult: a subscription to the print edition of the magazine gets you free online access to the entire catalog of New Scientist back issues. There is a vast wealth of articles and information available and I like the thought of having easy access to that information. But in the end, I realized that in the nearly-three years I’ve had a subscription, I’ve only gone back to the archives maybe half a dozen times. And that’s just not worth keeping the print edition.

On the other hand, there are a number of reason for going digital:

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What I did on my (disconnected) birthday

A couple of people have asked me if I had any symptoms of withdrawal, being away from the Internet for more than 24 hours. I don’t think so, although I was eager to check my email and blog stats as soon as I woke up this morning. Actually, I was rather humbled by all of the birthday wishes I received. I’m very fortunately to have such thoughtful friends and family.

And there was even a talking cat electronic birthday card that referred to that fact that I’d gone paperless. Let’s see Hallmark try and beat that!

Mostly, I spend the day yesterday deliberately doing nothing. I hung out with the family in the morning, lazed around for most of the day. I got a head start in reading the May 1940 issue of Astounding, but even there I didn’t do too much.

I had phone calls from a number of friends and family and it is always nice to hear those voices that I don’t get to hear very often.

I did clean off my desk. It was a complete and utter mess with stacks and stacks of golden age Astounding’s piled all about in disarray. The desktop is now clean and clear and the Astounding’s have been arrayed. I always feel like I can think more clearly when my desk is clean.

On said desk, I had a backlog of some 12 or so issues of New Scientist and Scientific American that I hadn’t touched. There is no way I was going to catch up reading each page of every issue, the way I normally do. So yesterday evening, I went through the contents of each magazine, making check marks on the contents page next to those articles I thought were particularly interesting. Then I started reading those articles and tossing the magazines when I finished. I’ve still got about 9 or 10 issues to go through, but there’s only about 1 or 2 articles in each that I’ve highlighted so it should go pretty quickly. This is important because it is how I keep up with science, but also because I usually get at least one good story idea from every issue–and last night was no exception.

It was a very nice day, all told, and I was glad I chose to unplug. I can see why Jack Benny wanted to remain 39. It seems just about the perfect age.

Anxiously awaiting the June Analog

Though I don’t have any snail-mail stories out for submission out the moment, I have been anxiously checking the mailbox every day in the hope that the June issue of Analog will be there. Yes, it is late March, but the June issue hits news stands around April 4 and I tend to get my subscription copy somewhat earlier than that. For instance, I received the May issue more than a month ago, back on February 18.

The June issue, of course, has my story “Take One for the Road” which is my third pro science fiction story and my first in Analog. I’ve seen the galleys for it, but I am on pins and needles to see the actual issue that contains the story. I haven’t read the story since I proofread the galleys and I’m looking forward to sitting down with the issue and reading my story. And of course I’m nervously hoping that other people who read it enjoy it, too.

I was hoping that the issue would arrive before my birthday, as a kind of advanced birthday present. (It can’t arrive on my birthday since my birthday falls on a Sunday this year.) More than likely it will arrive after. Nevertheless, checking the mailbox is the first thing that I do upon arriving home, and I don’t make any attempt at being calmly casual. I dash over to it in a mad sprint, completely and utterly frustrated by the volumes of junk circulars that clutter the box making it difficult to spot the good stuff.

Just be prepared for a complete and total freak-out when it does arrive. I’m giving you fair warning.

Well, maybe today…?

Catching up, part 2

I went upstairs to read at 7 PM last night and couldn’t get through a page before falling asleep.  I woke up at 6 AM and Kelly and I decided to stay in bed (and keep warm) until 7:30.  So I basically slept for 12 hours last night.  Then it was off to a busy day in the office.

The days are flying by and blurring into one another.  I only got to the gym one day this week.  On the other hand, I did a good deal of writing and I’m happy about that.  I’ve been trying to catch up on NEW SCIENTIST.  I was two issues behind, and now I’m only one issue behind.  But that’s taken time away from The Best of the Best.  I hope to make better progress on that  front.

Kelly’s belly is getting bigger.  People other than me can tell she’s pregnant.  She’s generally been feeling much better than she was feeling in the first trimester.

The garage door didn’t work again this morning. This marks the fourth time I’ve had problems with it, always on cold days, and I ripped the maintenance manager a new one, I’m afraid.  I asked the to replace the garage door opener, seeing as how I appear to be the only one having the problem.  I played the "pregnant wife" card and made it clear that I didn’t want Kelly to have to manually open and close the garage door.  The damn thing is just defective.  They "fixed" the problem today by adjusting the tension, but even after that, I went to the office and made sure that I wanted it replaced.  It involves paperwork and going through the management company, but I’m not backing off this one

Re-upped my SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN subscription through 2012.  Received three of The Year’s Best Science Fiction in the mail yesterday.  I’m slowly going to work my way backwards through the series.  And today also marked two straight weeks of packing my lunch for work.

It was extremely cold here today.  Below 0 at times.  Right now, the temperature is 7 and 0 with the wind chill.  At least the heat in the house is working.

We head to New York tomorrow to visit he11o_sunshine  and stubiebrother  and Sadie.  Yup, we’re flying US Airways to LaGuardia and back.  A couple of people have pointed this out to me so I’m just confirming it.  We are looking forward to seeing Jen and Jason and meeting our niece for the first time.

Inauguration is Tuesday and I haven’t described what it’s like in the D.C. area with respect to that, but it will have to wait for another post because I’m getting ready to go to bed.  Suffice it to say, it will be interesting here over the next four or five days.

Just finished watching the season premier of Battlestar Galactica and I thought it was good.  Looking forward to the remaining nine.  (And when there are only five episodes left, I can already predict the tag lines:  "Don’t miss the ‘final five’".

And I’ve got a small headache.

March Analog!

I neglected to check the mail yesterday, but when I went out to check it this morning, I found the March 2009 issue of ANALOG waiting for me.  This issue contains the conclusion of Robert J. Sawyer’s serialized novel, Wake.  Now I can take all 4 issues and read the whole thing straight through before the book hits the shelves in April.

Friday wrap-up

I didn’t get to bed until midnight last night.  I stayed up playing Tiger Woods.  I hadn’t played it in about a week and I did pretty good last night.  I won the Fourth of July tournament–I actually came in 1st place at -6.  It was fun.

Once again, no NEW SCIENTIST yesterday, so I broke down and started reading the November 8 issue online.  Got through about the first 20 pages.  The articles are just as good as ever, but there is something about the experience of reading the magazine online that just doesn’t quite compare to reading it from the pages themselves.  I can’t say what it is.  I guess I’m just old-fashioned.  While on the magazine’s website, I submitted the form telling them that I hadn’t yet received my November 8 issue.  Watch, it will be in today’s mail.  I did manage to read some more of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.   I’m through about 120 pages or so.

Full day at work yesterday and I was pleased with the progress I made on several fronts.  Yesterday was Kelly’s work-from-home day.  I was up at almost 9 AM this morning, which is late for me these days.  Kelly was already up, downstairs watching Maid of Honor.  The weather is odd here today.  It’s overcast (there were thunderstorms last night) but windy and warm (and humid!)  It’s just about 70 degrees at 11 AM which is very unusual for mid-November.  The rain looks like it’s going to hold off for a while so Kelly and I are going to walk up to Pentagon City.