A New Size For Stereophile Even More Letters
Editor: The January issue of Stereophile arrived on December 24—great Christmas present. I really enjoy the larger format. I am not sure if the type is any larger, but everything seems to be easier on my eyes. [However], the cover and the first four pages of this issue look like they went through a nasty scrap with an armed mailperson.
Quite frankly, I'm a little perturbed that my first issue in this format will never become a collector's item, due to its condition.—David Schwartz, Coral Springs, FL
Editor: Congratulations on the new format. What a great surprise from Santa. However, since I always read the last page first, I thought you would like to know that my issue arrived with the last ten pages' bottom corners chewed off by our friendly postal service. Hopefully this problem will not continue, or might we go back to the digest format? Yes, a replacement is already on the way, thanks to your customer service. What was that about the best-laid plans of mice and men?
Say La V!—Jack Anastasi, Youngsville, NC
When Larry Archibald purchased Stereophile from J. Gordon Holt in 1982, the then-32-page magazine cost $2.00 on the newstands. The price increased to $2.50 with Vol.5 No.2, to $3.00 with Vol.6 No.3, to $3.95 with Vol.7 No.5, then to $4.95 in early 1985, with Vol.8 No.2. The price stayed at $4.95 until January '94, despite ever-increasing numbers of pages—the average size of an issue in 1993 was 288 pages. The larger-size magazine carries the same amount of editorial content, but costs significantly more to print—hence, the cover-price increase. We do not currently have plans to raise the price to subscribers, however.
Regarding the increase in size, I'm surprised that some readers feel it goes hand-in-hand with a dilution of Stereophile's content or a compromise in our standards. The digest size seriously limited our presentation and design. It was also commercially limiting, because it made what we had to say inaccessible to too many potential readers.
I don't feel that saying the same amount of the same things in a more accessible, easier-to-read, better-designed magazine is equivalent to selling out—unless you really feel that inaccessibility, obfuscation, and elitism are important factors in defining/restricting who belongs in the high-end community. A magazine benefits from its opinions and philosophies reaching as many readers as possible. High-end manufacturers need to more effectively reach potential customers. A more accessible, more widely distributed high-end magazine will help both them and us.
I welcome the new distribution opportunities our new size opens up, but I intend to continue editing and producing the audio magazine that I want to read—as I always have done. And as for the negative reviews, Mr. Johnson, they're still there.—John Atkinson