Always surprising that a magazine can make money selling subscriptions for $10 a year because advertising revenue obviously doesn’t pick up the slack it once did. Well, I found out after subscribing to Motorcyclist that there are some sneaky ways to make that $10 pencil out. First, they fulfill the order with two back issues that didn’t sell in their respective months. Next, count two issues as four. Yep, one plus one equals four. It seems that Motorcyclist counts 8 issues as twelve because two of those 8 are double issues (meaning they have two-months printed on the cover; not because they have twice the content.). Bonnier, the magazine’s publisher, says, “Motorcyclist magazine publishes two double issues per year. Each count as two of 12 issues.” Talk about creative writing and a sneaky turn of phrase. Still, why not be honest with your customers and tell them they are buying 8 issues?
Shell-game tricks aside, the content is more satisfying than that of my recently expired Cycle World magazine (also a Bonnier publication). Motorcyclist talks with their readers while Cycle World lectures to them. I appreciate the Motorcyclist editorial mix and personality but that doesn’t mean it is working. The 68-page September 2016 issue (16 pages less than the August issue) lacks the bulk to feel like a thriving publication. I hope Motorcyclist can survive.