This is to let you know that we are making some changes to the way in which SoA subscription works:
The Main Changes:
- As of August 31, the annual subscription rate for the SoA will be raised from £20 to £24.
- SoA membership is moving from calendar year based subscription (subscribe January to December) to annual subscription (subscribe for 6 Slingshot issues, from the date you subscribe)
- This means that, if you miss an issue from your subscription, we will no longer automatically ship back issues for that year. You will however be able to buy back issues separately, while available (from now on, and availability permitting, the last 5 back issues will be available on an individual basis; otherwise back issues will continue to be available in annual packs)
- Postal sales (including back issue packs) will now be charged, additionally, for postage at cost. Previously postal sale prices included worldwide postage. Additional postage charges will not however be charged on memberships/Slingshot subscriptions, which will continue to be inclusive of worldwide postage. Items bought and collected at shows will obviously carry no postage charge.
- Family memberships, which provide all the benefits of membership except for a Slingshot subscription (member discounts, vendor discounts, forum subscriptions, tournament entry, etc) will now be available for free to anyone co-residing with an existing society member, on application to the membership secretary. Previously these memberships were charged at £2/year.
Why Are We Doing This?
Any price rise is unfortunate, but it should be pointed out that the committee has managed to maintain the cost of membership at £20, despite general inflation and specifically in the case of postal charges, since 2003. An increasing proportion of expenditure has as a result gone onto postage. Had we moved prices in line with inflation, the cost of membership would now be £26.80, so we think the deal is still a good one.
The other changes are to make spending efficiencies, which we intend to reinvest in Slingshot. Under the pre-existing arrangements, the print run for Slingshot had to be set at where we guessed it might end up at the end of the year, because we have to reserve enough back issues to be able to send out. This is obviously inefficient; we'd like to print a better Slingshot on a shorter print run. Also, those back issue packs were more expensive to send out, since they didn't qualify for our bulk mailing discount. The new system will mean that early re-subscribers aren't subsidising those who leave it late (note: the shorter print run will also make back issues more scarce).
During the last 5 years we have introduced, firstly colour covers and improved paper stock, and more recently colour throughout the magazine. We believe these changes mean we can continue to improve our main Slingshot offering. In the short term we will use the savings incurred to move Slingshot from 48 to 52 pages (starting with issue 284, publication date September 2012), which will further improve our ability to provide variety of gaming and hobby coverage within the magazine, which we believe to be important. At the same time, we intend to use our reserves to introduce and maintain other new programs. These include:
- a line of self-funding, limited run publications, available both in paper and e-book form and using existing Slingshot material, updated with the latest research and available both to non-members and (with a substantial discount on printed versions) to Society members
- we are also reviewing our existing line of games, notably those which are out of stock, for reprinting at improved production values; we are also open for submissions for new games in this line
Note the changes to subscriptions will take place as of 31 August. If you have been thinking of taking out a new subscription, under the existing arrangements, you have until then to do so, by going here: soa.org.uk/store. You can also buy publications and back issues from the same web store, before the new arrangements come in.