Subscription guilt

I try to have most of my magazine subscriptions renew around the end of the year. Many of them do, but not all of them. But this year I have a bit of a dilemma. I have 4 subscriptions which still arrive in paper form, but 3 of those 4 subscriptions I also receive electronically. Two of these are up for renewal in their print form: New Scientist and Analog.

My dilemma: I receive both of these electronically, New Scientist through Zinio and Analog on the Kindle. This means I’ve been paying for 2 subscriptions for each. It seems silly to pay for both paper and electronic subscriptions, especially since I am continually trying to decrease the amount of paper I handle. But at the same time, it’s difficult to cancel the paper subscriptions for these two magazines. I’ve been a long-time subscriber to both New Scientist and Analog. I feel guilty canceling the subscriptions even though I still receive them in other forms. In the case of Analog, I don’t want my cancellation to negatively affect Analog’s subscription numbers, but I don’t know how they count Kindle subscriptions. The one should offset the other. New Scientist has been sending me renewal notices, but seems to have no idea that I subscribe through Zinio. I wish these systems were better coordinated.

One might say that I could continue my Analog subscription. It’s only $35/year or so. But since I already get Analog on the Kindle, wouldn’t that $35 be better spend on subscribing to another magazine? Indeed, I’ve added subscriptions to Lightspeed and Clarkesworld over the last few months and I like getting all of those magazines. Isn’t that worth sacrificing the paper version of Analog? Perhaps, but I still feel guilty about it.

I suppose I’d feel better if I knew that the Kindle and Zinio subscriptions were accurately counted in the circulation and were tied back to my original subscription, so that it didn’t seem like I canceled my subscription to the magazine without them realizing it was merely just a change to a different format.

I know this must sound silly, but I do find myself facing this subscription guilt at this time of the year. But if I go completely paperless with Analog and New Scientist, it means that the only subscriptions I still get on paper are Time Magazine and Scientific American, and I also get Time electronically as part of my paper subscription. (There, the model is stilly: you can’t get an electronic subscription without a paper subscription. Kind of goes against the whole “going paperless” thing. Scientific American doesn’t yet have a non-PDF electronic subscription mechanism that I am aware of.

Going into 2012, therefore, I’ll be getting Analog, Asimov’s Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, F&SF, New Scientist and Time magazine all electronically. Time will also still come on paper, as will Scientific American.

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