Saturday, June 30, 2007

Fastest Journal Subscription

O n May 23, I mailed a check for $20 to a well-established journal for a one-year subscription at the graduate student rate. It's a quarterly journal, and I expected issue No. 3 shortly after the check cleared. Instead, I received a copy of the special No. 1-2 combo issue from the current volume. I thought little of it. I'd already seen it, already glanced the contents. Sure, I was a little bit disappointed, but I didn't realize initially that the double would count for half of my brand new annual subscription. The combo issue is thick with response pieces and reviews. It also has an interview, but only two articles.

You can imagine my surprise when, today, June 30, I received a letter from the journal explaining that I should dish out another $20 to renew my subscription for a second year. Why so fast? The next issue, a special No. 3-4 double issue, will be released soon, and with it, my one-year subscription will be up. That's right: back-to-back combo issues make it possible to have four issues in just two shipments and, as it turns out, exhaust a one-year subscription in only five weeks.

I'm not all that upset (I'm emotionally numbed from moving all day). I understand that my timing is terrible and I'm prone to bouts of shitty luck. I'm 99% sure I will renew, maybe even cough up the dough they're asking for a five-year subscription. Only, is it really five years (i.e., five Sun orbits)? Or can I expect twenty-five weeks of rapid-fire double-issues? Considering that individual issues run $10, I might catch a break by scanning somebody else's copy before paying for my own, especially if pairs of issues continue for long to be disguised as one.