We have important and exciting news to share with you today. Beginning with our next issue, GRAIN, Taproot will only be available at our online shop, our Portland store, and at select stockists and libraries. This means we are ending distribution to big box stores and large grocery chains. This decision is a values, feasibility, and ecological choice that we’d like to tell you - our supportive readers - more about.
The traditional magazine distribution process is designed for ad-supported magazines. The more copies distributed, the more they can charge their advertisers, even if many of those copies end up being “returned.” For ad-free magazines like Taproot, the cost of printing and distributing means we must sell at least 40% of the copies that go to the newsstand just to break even. This is a very high bar and one we have struggled to meet.
In addition, there is the problem of the inherent waste in this kind of magazine distribution. All the returns I mentioned? Those aren’t actually “returned” anywhere. They’re destroyed, as is the industry standard. This practice goes against what our team believes in and works towards - eliminating waste and preserving the earth’s resources (all those trees!). We strive to create a beautiful, timeless publication with each issue, one that we believe has lasting value and whose content is worthy of the precious paper it is printed upon.
We started this magazine seven years ago, none of us coming from the world of publishing, but rather from the world of families, farming and small business. We’ve learned so much in that time about the publishing industry, and where we want to live in that. This is one more step in that process of learning and growing, and striving to remain true to the beliefs and values we started this magazine with. The belief in creating a physical place - in the pages or in person - where we can gather to share stories, share skills, and strive together to live fully and dig deeper. Those core values are what will never change about Taproot. We welcome this change as a way for us to continue to deepen our relationship with our most important, and only customer - you, our readers - and hope that you’ll be inspired to support us by subscribing or renewing today. Subscribe or renew by Tuesday, July 17th to receive our next issue, GRAIN, shipping later this month.
And if you've already done that, thank you! We are so grateful for your support. And we humbly ask you to do one more thing. Without those newsstand copies out there, we need your help in spreading the word about Taproot the good old fashioned way - by telling a friend about us, or sharing one of your back issues as an invitation into our community.
P.S. Are you a shop owner who would like to wholesale Taproot Magazine? We’d love to work with you directly. Please send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.