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Complimentary Magazine Subscriptions

Are they for real?

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Everyone is aware that publishers offer free first issues for almost every magazine. The way it typically works is you receive the first issue and an invoice for the subscription. If you don’t wish to continue your subscription, you write cancel on the invoice, send it back and keep the first issue for free.

This can be a good thing for both the publisher and the consumer. Of course, the magazine publishers are counting on you either liking the magazine enough to pay for a subscription, or forgetting to cancel the subscription before the second issue comes.

An even better deal is available for an increasing number of magazines. Complimentary magazine subscriptions are starting to be abundant. You get a full subscription, nothing to cancel and nothing to pay. So, what is in it for the publishers?

It’s no secret that most magazines earn the bulk of their revenue from advertisements. Marketers find magazine advertising very attractive for several reasons. When someone takes the time to read a particular magazine, you can bet they have an interest in its subject matter. That makes it easy to target ads to those most interested in the products. For example, beauty magazines have lots of ads for cosmetics, fashions and other things of interest to those people that typically ready them. Since the ads are part of the magazine itself and interspersed with the content, it is also easier to catch the attention of someone who is reading than say those watching TV or listing to radio.

But, for the publishers to sell to big advertisers, and to make money on a large volume of ads, they need a lot of subscribers. That’s where the complimentary subscriptions come in. Publishers use complimentary subscriptions to supplement the paid subscriptions when they need a larger circulation to sell advertising.

One interesting last point – notice that I have been using the term complimentary magazine subscription rather than free magazine subscription? It seems there is a technicality in the rules for auditing or getting an official count of magazine subscriptions. They can’t count free subscriptions! So, does that mean that complimentary magazine subscriptions are not free? No, but don’t tell that to the magazine industry – we’ll keep that as our little secret. And don’t forget to take a look at the complimentary magazine subscriptions listed on this site.

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