By Cecil Willis
As long as we have been publishing Truth Magazine, we have promised our readers that as finances and facilities permitted, we would do our best to present to you a first-class religious journal as to contents, make-up, materials, and appearance. We thus are contemplating some changes in the paper beginning November 1, 1973. We think Truth Magazine has been as good a publication at least in appearance as any put out by the brethren. The former publishers established a very attractive format, and we have maintained it throughout the following years. Our readers will have to judge as to the quality of the contents of the paper.
With the August issues, it has been my pleasure or responsibility to edit Truth Magazine for eleven years. All the time I have edited it, I have had to do so with the press of several other duties attending me. Presently I preach for the Westside congregation in Marion, Indiana, and also hold a rather full schedule of gospel meetings. Thus it has always been difficult for me to give the editing of the paper the time that such a responsibility really deserves. Ideally, it would be a full-time job to edit a sixteen page weekly paper. But it has never been within our financial capability for me to devote full-time to the paper, nor does it appear that I will be able to do so any time in the near future.
For several years, we have felt the need to publish more. material. I hear that some religious journals actually have a shortage of articles suitable for publication, but that has never been a problem in recent years for Truth Magazine. When I assumed responsibility for publishing the paper in 1962, there was not even one article on hand with which to prepare the next issue. But since then, there has never been a shortage of quality material for publication.
Presently I have on hand about one thousand pages of manuscripts that I have had every intention to publish. These are articles that in my opinion are worthy of publication. Like every other publisher, we have a file that for all intents and purposes might just as well be labeled the proverbial “File13.” Into go those articles that in the arbitrary opinion of the editor are not suited for publication.
But through the years, an ever bulging file of articles, which we have, bad every intention to print has accumulated. We thought we solved this problem when we turned the paper into a weekly four years ago. Becoming a weekly enabled us to publish between two and three times as much material as we could publish as a monthly. But already the press to publish even more material is being felt.
It is impossible to know the feelings of our readers completely. A few complain that they now cannot find time to read everything in the paper. Yet an average issue of Truth Magazine can be read by an average reader in about thirty minutes. Furthermore, I imagine that every reader is selective in what he reads. Personally, I receive about thirty-five religious subscription journals, and perhaps two hundred church bulletins, along with a few publications from the secular press, and of course, the daily newspaper. It is imperative that I be selective in my reading. But if I did not receive a variety of papers, I would never know when the articles appear that I select to read, and certainly would not want to miss these articles. A reader that takes only one or two subscription magazines should not have to read selectively. But even if you do, the wider the selection the better.
So we have decided to enlarge the page-size with the November 1, 1973 issue. By going to standard 8 1/2 x 11 inch page, we will be able to publish 44% more copy. I have had some series of articles on hand, which I have intended to print, for as long as four years. With the potentiality of publishing nearly 50% more articles, I have the hope to get some of this good material in print. If our writers respond as they have heretofore, they will simply increase the supply of material, and we will still have to be selective in the articles, which we publish. But you will get nearly 50% more reading material.
Since becoming a weekly journal four years ago, our paper has been printed most of the time on a 35 X 45 sheet-fed offset press. We have used a glossy, coated paper. Most recently, it has been taking a pressman one full day to print Truth Magazine. We now are going to a web-fed rotary press. This newer and much faster type of press rims off of a thousand pound roll of paper. The sheet-fed presses were capable of running only about 6,000 impressions an hour. The webfed press can run up to 17,000 impressions an hour. By cutting the press time considerably, we can to some degree hold down the increase in cost for the 44% increase in contents.
However, the change in presses is going to necessitate a change in paper stock. The coated, glossy sheet that we have been using dries too slowly to be used ‘ on the web-fed press, or we would continue using it. In order to use the paper we presently use, it would be necessary to install an oven through which the paper would run in order to dry the ink quicker. Otherwise, the glossy sheet would result in considerable offsetting onto the next copy. An oven would cost thirty to forty thousand dollars, and presently we are the only printing customers that would need it. Hence, its addition is not now economically feasible.
We will use the highest quality paper stock the rapid drying ink will permit us to use, without producing a smeared copy. In other words, we still intend to produce the highest quality paper we can insofar as materials are concerned. We will continue to try to improve the content of the paper, and will try to select the best material submitted to us f or publication.
The enlargement of the paper is going to necessitate an increase in our subscription price. Single subscriptions will be, after January 1, 1974, 87.50 per year. However, if you should want to purchase your subscription five years at a time, the price will be $30.00, or still at the rate of $6.00 per year. We will have to make some change in our group subscription price. Subscriptions in groups of 10 or more will be $6.00 per year. Ten subscriptions can be purchased on the $5.00 per month basis. With many people getting raises in pay, perhaps we can begin to talk in terms of 20 subscriptions for $ 10. 00 per month, rather than 10 for $5.00 per month.
In addition to getting 44% more copy in an issue, we now will have access to color on all sixteen pages, rather than only on eight pages as has been true until now. We also think we will get a better and more consistent printing job on the web-fed press (better registration, for you printers) than on the sheet-fed presses. We will continue to use a photograph on the cover, and otherwise maintain the same basic make-up of the paper. We are, however, going to change the type face we are using. We have been using 10 point Bodoni, and will be switching to 10 point English. The new typeface is a little lighter than Bodoni, and appears to be larger. We think you will like it better. It is the same font as is used in Pitching for the Master, in case you are familiar with that free paper edited and written by Lindy McDaniel, but also published by the Cogdill Foundation.
We have never tried to keep any secrets about the publication of Truth Magazine. I have never understood why brethren were so secretive about how many copies of a paper they were printing. We have been running an average o about 4500 copies in recent months. A few months ago we had a printing cost increase of about $50.00 per week, which was not passed on to our subscribers. This amounted to a $2500 a year printing increase to us. The above-mentioned changes will increase our printing costs additionally a little more than $50.00 per week. Thus, we have had over $100.00 per week in printing costs increase since our subscription prices have been raised. With these changes, our printing prices will have increased over $5000.00 per year since we raised our prices. Though no exact computation has been made, I doubt that Truth Magazine is now paying even its own printing bill. Our printing bill alone for the paper will now run about $550 to $600 per week. That’s $27,500 to $30,000 per year, depending on how many copies we run.
So in addition to a subscription increase, we need to have an increase in our number of subscribers. We are increasing our subscription price 20%, which is the same percentage as our printing costs increase. But we are going to give you 44% more copy for this 20% increase in price, and hopefully, we will give you a more consistent top quality printing job. Some of the sixteen page monthly journals printed by brethren are selling for $5.00 per year. If we were going to charge proportionately, our subscription price would be about $20.00 per year. Other weeklies comparable in size to the proposed new Truth Magazine are comparably priced.
And while I am speaking of the unpleasant subject of price increases, I might as well lay before you the details concerning a necessary increase in the price of our bound volumes. We have been selling our bound volumes for $7.50 each. Each issue of the paper has been costing us ten cents. In a bound volume, you get fifty issues, which cost us $5.00 to print. It then costs us about $3.00 to have the volume bound. So you can see immediately how we have been coming out on bound volumes. Thus our bound volumes must also be increased in price. The Gospel Guardian recently has had to increase the price of their bound volumes to $10.00. Though this sounds very high, it is a realistic price, and will be our bound volume price hereafter.
We only bind two hundred copies each year. Everyone who purchases one of the bound volumes has a rare book from the beginning. Bound volume prices increase rapidly. Recently I heard of a Bound Volume I of Truth Magazine selling for $50.00. 1 personally have paid $20.00 for several of the early bound volumes, and still will do so. I think it is safe to say that you will never lose any money on bound volumes you purchase. They might even be a good investment! Our supply of bound volumes does not last long. For instance, we now can only supply Volumes XIV, XV, XVI, and as soon as we can get it to the bindery and back, Volume XVII. Our supply of the first three volumes listed is low. If you want one, you had better not wait long to order it. Young preachers who come to recognize the value of these bound volumes soon buy up all the extra copies available. So if you want one of the bound volumes, I recommend that you order soon. Perhaps you would like to have your name added to our permanent order file for bound volumes, and each new bound volume automatically will be sent to you when ready. We also have an automatic renewal plan whereby we automatically renew your subscription when it expires, and bill you for the renewal. By authorizing this automatic renewal plan, you can be assured that you will not miss any issues of Truth Magazine.
We hope you concur that enlargement of the paper is an improvement in it. We are sorry about the necessary price increase, but such are the bitter financial facts of life. There are some important and helpful things to be said in forthcoming issues of Truth Magazine, and we hope you stay around with us to read them. My main regret in increasing the size of the paper is the reflection upon it increasing my Truth Magazine work-load by 447o also. Now that is just what I have been needing! But we hope to bring you not only more, but better, reading material fifty weeks of each year . . . for some years to come, the good Lord permitting.
TRUTH MAGAZINE XVII: 43, pp. 3-6
September 6, 1973