The Blog

A Note About LIGHTSPEED Subscriptions

You may have noticed that Lightspeed’s subscription price went up recently, from $1.99 an issue to $2.99 an issue (e.g., from $23.88 to $35.88 annually). I just wanted to briefly explain why. A version of this note is going to run in the December editorial, but I wanted to post about it sooner rather than later.

As many of you know, Lightspeed has been available as a subscription via Amazon.com’s Periodicals program since late 2011. What you may not have known is that Amazon actually sets the price on those subscriptions. When Lightspeed first launched as an Amazon subscription, it was before the Lightspeed-Fantasy merger, at which point the issues were about 30,000-35,000 words long. At that time, we sold individual issues for $2.99 and Amazon priced Lightspeed at $1.99 a month for subscribers.

Post-merger, we doubled our amount of fiction content by merging Fantasy Magazine into Lightspeed, and then also added in the novella reprints to each ebook issue as well, taking each ebook issue to around 80,000-85,000 words total. We raised our cover price to $3.99, but Amazon kept our subscription price at $1.99 per issue; Amazon reviews periodicals pricing on their own schedule—regardless of what the publisher may prefer—so it wasn’t until the past couple of weeks that they reviewed the pricing for Lightspeed. After their review, they adjusted the subscription price up to $2.99, due, we assume, to the fact that each issue of the magazine is now much longer. Our individual issue price remains at $3.99 an issue, so subscribers will still be saving a dollar an issue by subscribing (or about 25% off the cover price).

So, the price increase is not something that was under our control, but we feel like it is a fair price for the magazine, and we hope you’ll agree and continue to subscribe. Rest assured, we’re not going to take this newfound income and spend it frivolously; indeed, we plan to take it and invest it back into Lightspeed, to make it the best magazine it can be.

 

Discussion

  • Andy

    12:25 pm Nov-9-2012

    Is this change for current subscribers or is it just for new subscriptions henceforth? And if it’s for current subscribers, do you know if Amazon will be alerting subscribers of this price hike?

    • John Joseph Adams

      12:30 pm Nov-9-2012

      Hi Andy,

      That’s an excellent question. I assumed, since Amazon bills monthly, and the subscriptions are ongoing until you cancel them, that all current subscribers will start being billed at the new rate. Unfortunately, the Periodicals program is kind of a black box and there is little chance of getting an answer to my questions (as a publisher, anyway–perhaps we’d have better luck asking as customers?). I’ve put in a query, so we’ll see what they say. As to whether or not they will be alerting subscribers, if so, I’m not sure when, since I happened to discover the price change by chance myself (i.e., I wasn’t notified as publisher). I subscribe to the magazine myself, to test it, so that I can see what subscribers are getting, etc., and I wasn’t notified as a customer either. If I find out anything, I’ll post an update. But this lack of notification is why I wanted to post about this right away, and why I’ll be mentioning it in the December editorial, so theoretically all of our subscribers will see it then.

    • John Joseph Adams

      12:28 pm Nov-13-2012

      Hi Andy #2,

      Yes, all subscriptions will be at the same price. Amazon’s TOS actually requires that you don’t offer the same items elsewhere for a cheaper price, but to me it just seems fairest to have the subscription prices be the same across the board in any case. Of course, if you already subscribed via Weightless at the lower rate, your existing subscription will not be effected until it’s time to renew.

      • Andy

        12:46 pm Nov-13-2012

        Okay, thanks for the update.

  • Andy

    12:45 pm Nov-9-2012

    Cool. Thanks for the response!

  • Andy

    12:19 pm Nov-13-2012

    Different Andy here. We’re an inquisitive sort.

    Will the annual subscription through Weightless be going up too, to match the Amazon pricing?