Most subscribers now have in their hands the first bimonthly issue, March/April, published on Creating Keepsakes’ new 8 issue schedule for 2010.
For subscribers who purchased their subscriptions expecting to get 12 issues in a year, this issue counts as 2 of the remaining issues they expected on their subscription since Creating Keepsakes customer service is on record saying they won’t extend subscription expiration dates with the reduction in annual issues.
So, what did readers get?
First, let’s look at the most obvious feature – length. The March/April bimonthly issue is 122 pages long, exactly the same length as the February issue.
But an examination of the advertising content in the two issues shows what could be a critical difference. The February issue contained almost 22% advertising content. The March/April issue contained under 18% advertising content. This is great news for readers – they got about 5 more pages of editorial content in the March/April issue – but financially for the magazine, it means they had 5 fewer pages of ad income. Given that 22% isn’t a healthy ad percentage for a magazine, a drop to 18% is definitely a trend in the wrong direction. (For comparison, most of the recent scrapbook magazines that have shut down were closed when they were consistently reaching only 15% advertising in their issues.)
Moving past the numbers, looking at the content is more positive. The quality of the editorial content has been steadily improving. They’ve dealt well with losing several headline columnists and have greatly refreshed the look of certain sections. The March/April issue is the best the magazine has done in a long time. Hopefully we’ll get to see more of that.
Judging from the comments on the Creating Keepsakes Facebook page, the new production schedule is a hard sell with subscribers. Many of the comments about the change addressed to the company via Facebook are complaints from subscribers who feel they are being shorted issues on their subscriptions by the change. Many are threatening to not renew their subscriptions when they expire, although none appear to be outright canceling immediately. Creating Keepsake’s representative on Facebook have repeatedly referred questions about subscription extensions to the customer service department. They’ve also blamed the poor economy and slow ad sales for the reduced production schedule and the length of the bimonthly issue.