Thanks for your question(s) about our recently announced publication changes. We understand there are many questions, and we hope to provide some answers below as we all navigate this transition together.
No more subscriptions? Why?
While we firmly believe that “print is not dead,” we do think (in our experience) that the traditional subscription model of magazines is not working for most publishers (especially those like us, for whom advertising is not the basis of their income stream). As we’ve shared in the past, the cost to print the magazine has risen drastically and unpredictably in recent years. Since January 2020, our cost to produce, print, and ship the magazine has nearly quadrupled. Alongside this, we are committed to paying our writers and artists a fair wage for the work they do, and this grows alongside our economy. In practical terms, for example, this means that a 2-year subscription taken out 24 months ago was based on the production cost at the time and is now actually losing us money. In setting a subscription price, we are trying to predict what it will cost in the future and then obligated to hold to that promised price, whether it is profitable or a loss. This is not sustainable as a small and independent publisher with no outside investors or advertisers.
What about my existing subscription?
If you are a current subscriber, your subscription will be honored for the remaining issues that you have coming your way. You can find this out by checking out the label on your latest issue or writing or calling our customer service.
How many issues will you print next year? And what are the themes?
Along with removing subscriptions, we are also slowing down our printing schedule, resulting in four issues coming in 2024 – LOVE, FLOWER, LAND, and THREAD. (You can find updated submission deadlines and dates on our Submission page). The shift from six to four issues is a result of much thought and with many reasons behind it, some of the most important being:
First, it will help us with the outlay of cash required that is currently required for the creation of six issues in twelve months, which financially comes quite rapidly and is a challenge as we strive to pay a fair wage to our contributors and team, produce a beautiful print product, and stay away from pages full of advertising.
Secondly, we know the environmental impact of printing and shipping a magazine. We are confident that we can provide nearly the same amount of content in 4 issues as we have in the past in 6 while lessening, in just the smallest of ways, our footprint while also saving us a bit on the always increasing shipping costs we experience.
Lastly, and this is a big and deeply personal one, moving to four issues will allow us more peace and balance in our work and life flow. We are a very small editorial team, with many of us deep in the years of parenting young children. From the very beginning of the magazine, I (Amanda) have felt it so important that our team's work days and weeks reflect the values we promote in our pages – that of connection, balance, peace, and prioritizing family and community. Six issues have, quite frankly, become a lot, with deadlines right on top of one another so much that more stress has entered our days than I believe is healthy. With four issues, we can dig deeper into each piece of writing and be true to our roots of producing the highest quality of work. We hope that for you, too, it will encourage a slower pace, allowing you to linger over an issue for the entirety of a season.
Can you explain how and why the pre-orders?
If you are not a current subscriber, pre-ordering an issue is the best way to ensure receiving a copy of Taproot. With pre-orders in place, we can print nearly an exact number of needed copies, leaving fewer “extra” issues each time (decreasing both our cost and the waste from potentially unsold issues). Pre-ordering will help provide the funds required to print an issue with our payments due at the time of printing, as well as save us on shipping costs when we can get issues sent in bulk mail (as they do currently with subscriptions). When one issue is released, the one to follow will become available to pre-order, giving folks plenty of time to sign up to receive it.
What about auto-renew?
Auto-renew allows us to anticipate more than one issue ahead by understanding how many people would like to purchase an issue. In this model, you will only be charged when an issue is about to ship. An email will be sent to you two weeks ahead, allowing you to opt-out anytime.
If I don’t use a computer, should I call every other month to get an issue?
If you use email at all, we recommend signing up for the auto-renew option so we can communicate with you that way. You are also welcome to call and order each issue as they become available. We hope to find a better solution for you as we figure out this new model.
What if I want to give Taproot as a gift?
We hope to find a solution for gifting future issues soon. Stay tuned!
We are truly sorry for the trouble that these changes have caused you. Our staff is working diligently to brainstorm and troubleshoot alternatives and solutions as we face these changes and challenges. We thank you for your patience and support during this transition, and look forward to continuing to bring you the goodness that you’ve come to know and love from the pages of Taproot!