I am considering a major change for Canadian Paramedicine magazine in 2019, which I would like readers to provide their views on. In short, Canada Post has finally driven me to the brink. They raise postage rates for mailing the magazine every year in January, and every year I watch Canada Post’s service decline. Years ago their rates ran at about 1/6 of what my printing costs were. At present, they’re at about 2/3 of what my printing costs are. Printing costs really haven’t risen in recent years. Printers have implemented new techniques and equipment that have helped them keep a lid on printing costs … while mailing costs have increased significantly. I have held the line on advertising and subscription rates, but it has hit the point where the increased postage costs have eroded the magazine’s profit margin and threaten its financial viability.

Aside from increasing mailing rates, Canada Post’s service has deteriorated considerably. I used to have a dedicated Canada Post representative who I could contact when problems arose, but that hasn’t been the case for years now. They used to provide guaranteed service standards. Originally it was 15 business days, then it went to 21 days, now there are no guaranteed standards. Indeed, they can’t even guarantee they’ll deliver the magazine. Every issue I receive complaints that people didn’t receive their copy of the magazine. That’s going to happen, but it used to be minimal. It’s no longer minimal though. It has become significant.

So … I am seriously investigating going digital. I can’t do anything about Canada Post, and they won’t do anything to improve their service. The only measure I can take to fix the problem is remove Canada Post from the equation and turn the magazine into an electronic-only publication.

The magazine has had an electronic presence since 1998, and it has been available electronically in one form or another since then. The print edition has always been the focus though, so time and financial resources have always gone into the print edition. By changing focus to an electronic format, I’ll be able to put time and money into an e-zine to enhance its value to readers and advertisers.

There’s nothing that can replace the physical experience of reading a print magazine, but I think and hope an e-zine can provide benefits to compensate for that. Seachability for one thing. Electronic documents are far easier to search for information using keywords than thumbing though hard copies. Portability at the very least won’t suffer by going to an electronic format … phones and tablets travel everywhere with people nowadays.

Cost is obviously another benefit of an e-zine. The cost of printing and mailing the print edition has become significant, primarily due to ever-increasing postage costs. From a production cost perspective, postage costs are the straw that’s breaking the camel’s back. The cost savings I can achieve from an e-zine will be shared with readers and advertisers. My preliminary number crunching indicates I can pass along significant savings to both readers and advertisers. While reducing costs for everyone, I will be netting a better bottom line for the magazine as well. Everyone wins financially.

The environment is another winner. While the current production process utilizes recycled paper and plastic and canola–based inks, the carbon footprint of a digital publication is certainly much less. Delivery via Canada Post consumes petroleum, which may even be the most significant environmental impact of a print publication, considering the impact of the production materials can at least be mitigated through the use of recycled products.

Last but not least, delivery will be significantly improved. No longer will it take several weeks to “maybe” receive the magazine. Delivery can be achieved instantly with an e-zine if everything is functioning as it should in the cyber world.

I can’t and won’t make this change without support from the majority of the magazine’s readers and advertisers. Not only do I welcome your feedback, I need it.

Please take a moment to choose the response at the top of this page that best expresses your position.

Results of the survey will be made available after the voting process, but I do not want to display the running total as that can influence some voters.

If you have questions, or would like to provide a comment, please send me an email message at lyle@emsnews.com

 

Lyle Blumhagen

Publisher, Canadian Paramedicine