By Mike Willis
Our federal government has a policy of spending more money than it receives. Consequently, the national debt has continued to escalate throughout the last few years. We at Truth Magazine thought that we would give this deficit spending a try for a couple of years. We have found that it does not work. Our creditors prefer that we pay for what we receive. Consequently, we are going to have to make some changes in Truth Magazine.
Our Present Situation
Our present mailing list is slightly over 3000 subscribers. We pay $775.00 per week to have Truth Magazine printed and mailed. Every week, we spend 220 TO PRINT AND MAIL EACH MAGAZINE. This means that we spend $11.29 every year to print and mail a paper which we sell for $7.50. On every subscription which we sell for $7.50, we lose $3.79. Those subscriptions which are sold in bundles at $6.00 per year cost us $5.29 per year above what we receive for every one that we sell. These losses do not reflect the additional cost of my office expenses, secretarial help, and salary; these prices solely reflect the printing and postage costs.
This year alone, we have received a $10,000 increase in printing costs. We have absorbed that loss ourselves through the sale of books in Truth Magazine Bookstore. We did not pass on this loss to our customers. However, we knew that we could not continue this policy forever. Hence, some changes are in store for Truth Magazine.
Truth Magazine Will Remain A Weekly
When I have discussed our present situation with people whose judgment I highly respect, I have repeatedly been told, “Keep Truth Magazine a weekly.” Truth Magazine is the only weekly presently being published among those who stand opposed to the liberalism which has invaded the church in recent years. Every week, we publish sixteen pages of excellent material designed to teach those who are lost and edify those striving to live as Christ commanded. The amount of material on hand to be published continues to increase faster than I can get it published. Hence, to change from a weekly to a bi-weekly or a monthly was a last resort measure, so far as I was concerned. This was also the consensus of the rest of those who met to discuss the necessary changes we had to make to keep Truth Magazine solvent.
Changes In Printing Format
We consulted with our printer and requested information about what changes we could make which would reduce our printing costs. He suggested several changes which we could make, some of which no one would notice. As a matter of fact, I have already initiated some changes which no one would notice because the work could be done by computer rather than by hand. This will save us a considerable amount each year. However, other changes which we will make will be very noticeable.
The next thing which we are going to change will be the quality of paper on which Truth Magazine is published. Ever since it was founded, Truth Magazine has probably been printed on the highest grade of paper of any periodical circulated among Christians. Yet, we have paid for this. It was my judgment that this should be one of the first things to go in any effort to cut costs. Consequently, we are going to begin using the same grade of paper as that on which Searching The Scriptures is printed. The same printer produces both our papers so the quality of paper will be the same for each of us.
This will also demand that we quit printing the large picture on the cover of Truth Magazine each week. This, however, was another luxury which I would rather give up than to change from being a weekly to a bi-weekly or monthly. Our front page will be re-designed in order to feature an article on that page. Consequently, by making this change we shall be able to include more teaching material than we have been in the past.
Another noticeable change which we shall be making will be to go from two-color printing to single color as the rest of the periodicals circulating among us are presently doing. This will make the paper less attractive than it has previously been but will not affect the amount of quality of material being mailed out each week to teach people. We shall not begin these physical changes until the end of our volume year in order that our bound volumes shall not be intermingled in format.
Price Increase Effective January 1st
Another change that must be made is an increase in our subscription price. For several years, Truth Magazine has been priced significantly lower than any other periodical among us. We have produced our paper for $7.50. Compare that with other papers. Vanguard is a 24-page biweekly with a subscription price of $9.50 per year. Torch is a 24-page monthly with a subscription .price of $5.00 per year. Gospel Guardian has recently announced plans to change from a bi-weekly to a monthly; they will- be publishing a 32-page monthly for $7.00 per year. The Preceptor publishes a 32-page monthly for $4.00 per year. Searching The Scriptures publishes a 24-page monthly for $6.00 per year. Gospel Teacher publishes a 24-page paper six times a year for $7.00 per year. Gospel Anchor publishes a 32-page monthly for $6.00 per year. Faith and Facts is a 75-page quarterly available for $4.00 per year.
From these comparisons, I think that you can perceive that $7.50 for a 16-page weekly was priced considerably under any other paper circulating among us. We have charged the price of $7.50 per year for this weekly paper since January 1, 1974. Everyone knows that these years have been years during which we experienced double-digit inflation nearly every year. We have watched prices increase significantly for the food we eat, the cars we drive, the houses we live in, etc. We should only expect that printing costs and subscription papers are going to have to increase in price as well.
We have held off the price increase just as long as we can. Now, we simply must pass it on to our customers. Beginning January 1, 1978, our subscription price will increase as follows: The single subscription will cost $10.00 per year. Those purchased on a club-rate basis will increase from $6.00 per year to $8.00. Foreign subscriptions will cost $12.50. Brethren, compare our prices with those of other subscription papers published among us and you will see that Truth Magazine gives you more pages of Bible teaching for our subscription price than any other paper among us.
We Need To Increase Our Circulation
Even with these price increases, we need to increase our circulation as much as possible. Already we have experienced a 28% increase in circulation since I began to edit the paper. Yet, we are significantly under the circulation of several years ago. Hence, we need your help to increase the circulation of Truth Magazine. There is no better advertisement of the paper than through word of mouth. Tell your friends about Truth Magazine. Send someone a gift subscription. I send a group of ten subscriptions myself for $5.00 per month (this will cost $6.67 per month with our new prices). Most of us could afford this if we wanted to use our money in this fashion. Will you consider sending a group of subscriptions to those whom you know?
We Need Your Book Business
With all of the changes that will be made, Truth Magazine will still lose several thousand dollars next year. Someone has to pay this loss; our creditors do not encourage deficit spending. The means we have of overcoming such losses is through the sale of religious literature. Hence, we need your book business. We can supply any book in print. We produce what I consider to be the very best two series of graded literature on the market. In addition to that, we supply you with the best of service. Our book store manager, Bob Whitehead, with the help of his staff in Marion, Indiana makes it a policy to mail out orders on the very same day as he receives them. Most of the time, we receive our orders in this area the same week as we send it.
Brethren, the profit which we make selling you literature and books is used to produce Truth Magazine. The profits from similar sales through Gospel Advocate Bookstore or Firm Foundation Publishing Company goes to produce material propagating liberal practices. Yet, some brethren would prefer to do business with the liberals (or denominationals) who use their profits to spread false doctrines than with us when we are trying to circulate the truth with our profits. Our prices are the same so why not help the truth rather than error? If there is any way that you can help us increase our book business, you can help us keep the cost of Truth Magazine down and to increase the number of good books on the market.
Right now, we have several good books which we would like to publish but cannot because of lack of funds. Brother Roy Cogdill has written several good sermon books. We have a desire to publish a good set of commentaries. All of this takes money. That is why we need your business. Please direct your book business our way.
I hope that you will continue to encourage us in the work that we are doing. I have received many complimentary letters from our readers. Brethren are commending our work in every area in which the truth is taught. I appreciate hearing from you and receiving your letters of commendation. This is new labor for me. I am not accustomed to being an editor of a paper. I have made several mistakes this year and will make more in the future. However, I shall continue to strive to honorably correct any error which I make. Thanks for your help as we labor together to publish one of the very best teaching periodicals on the market.
Truth Magazine XXII: 38, pp. 611-613
September 28, 1978