Friday, 28 November 2014

The Nature of Scotland printed magazine - R.I.P.

In summer 2008 I subscribed to the Nature of Scotland magazine, published by Scottish Natural Heritage. It was a beautifully laid out, 68-page, quarterly magazine distributed free of charge to anyone who requested it and I believe over 30,000 copies of each edition were printed.

I reckoned the costs of producing and distributing the Nature of Scotland must have been in excess of £100,000 a year and maybe much more. As someone who was trying to recruit paying subscribers to the Nature of Wales magazine, Natur Cymru, I felt a bit envious; the amount of subsidy received by Natur Cymru was peanuts compared to the subsidy in Scotland.

But would it be sustainable? After a few years the quarterly frequency dropped to half yearly. Then there was a phase in which the online PDF version was promoted and the doors were closed to new subscribers of the printed edition.

And today I received a postcard saying that the printed magazine would no longer be posted to individual addresses with effect from October 2014. I never did get to feel edition 20 but you can read it online here or even listen to an audio version.

The end of the printed magazine is a shame but a commercial necessity masquerading as reduced carbon footprint. On the other hand Natur Cymru is on the brink of printing edition 53; an achievement made possible by a loyal set of paying subscribers, some advertising, some subsidy and some excellent volunteers. Keep up the good work! As much as I like the online world I think there is still a vital role for the printed word in pushing messages and reaching out.

NB gift subscriptions as Christmas presents are a great idea and help keep the show on the road!

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