On Monday, I received the email below from Dan Sinker, of the Punk Planet staff.
The last remaining distributor of independent magazines, BigTop Newsstand Services, is in such bad financial condition that they have suspended payments to publishers. Independent magazines, who offer very low advertising rates for independent businesses, rely on BigTop for the bulk of their monthly income. The loss of this income puts Punk Planet in dire straits.
Please read this letter, and consider supporting Punk Planet in any way you can. The world, especially America, can ill-afford to lose another independent voice in the wastelands of our media.
Last Thursday we received some distressing news--the kind of news that made our very bones ache when we heard it; the kind of news that felt so significant we simply couldn't function after it sank in.
With a few days time and the ability to process it, we decided it's news worth sharing: It was a letter from the president of the Independent Press Association, the not-for-profit organization that owns the company that distributes the majority of Punk Planet's copies, BigTop Newsstand Services. The letter acknowledged the truth of a rumor that had been running through indie publishing circles for months now: the distributor was having cash flow problems. Payments to publishers for magazines already distributed had been and would continue to be effected for an unknown amount of time. In case you don't operate a magazine, the money coming in from newsstand sales is vital to publishers' bottom line. For a magazine like Punk Planet, where our ad rates remain very low to cater to independent businesses, those distributor payments are even more critical.
This news leaves us in a tight spot: BigTop is the last distributor in the country that specializes in distributing independent press magazines like Punk Planet. When we started 12 years ago, there were close to a half dozen such distributors; each one that has gone belly up dragged a few magazines with it. Because BigTop is owned by the IPA, an organization whose mission is to "amplify" the voice of the independent press, we don't expect that they will go out of business; but we also don't know when we will see the money we are owed.
What does this mean for the future of Punk Planet? The truth is we don't yet know.
But we do know there are things you can do that will help us in both the short term and the long term.
1. Please consider subscribing (or resubscribing) and purchasing some merchandise from our webstore today. If you have a product, idea, or event to advertise, purchase an ad.
An immediate influx of cash will allow us to pay off back debts--to contributors, printers, web hosts, etc--and better enable us to weather any coming storm caused by nonpayment from our distributor. Our annual end-of year subscription sale is just starting now—get a whole year for only $18, or really help us out and buy a couple of them!
2. Please forward this information--or this whole email--on to your lists and friends, and specifically ask them to subscribe or buy merchandise from us.
In addition to a two-year subscription for only $30, you can pick up any of our amazing books—Joe Meno's HAIRSTYLES OF THE DAMNED, Bee Lavender's LESSONS IN TAXIDERMY, Mark Anderson's ALL THE POWER, or Jay Ryan's brand-new 100 POSTERS 134 SQUIRRELS now available for pre-order! We've also got Punk Planet T-shirts, underpants, and the awesomely cool PPAP: Punk Planet Artists' Prints wearable art series.
3. Consider donating to the Community Supported Journalism Fund. It's a small-fund donations program, made up almost exclusively of donations of less than $20, but it's already allowed us to bring you the amazing END OF RADIO cover story of PP69: four full articles on different aspects of radio creation and tons of teeny interviews with audio experts. It wouldn't have been possible without your support!
4. Please continue to support independent print media. The payment issues effecting us are not singular--there are others in the same predicament that need your support as well.
Thanks so much,
I will figure out a way to send some support and I implore you to do the same.
Thank you for your consideration.
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