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Fictionwise subscriptions gone?

(101 posts)
  • Started 3 years ago by stevemowbray
  • Latest reply from Toast

  1. stevemowbray
    Member

    I've just received a refund from Fictionwise for the remainder of my subscription, with no explanation. Going to the site I see the Mar/Apr issue is not available on there. Does this mean there are no more electronic subscriptions, or is there an alternative? I have been a happy electronic subscriber for many years and like carrying all my issues on my phone.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  2. ByronBailey
    Member

    Disturbing.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  3. LukeJackson
    Member

    One wonders how long these low-tech monsters can survive, when there are sites like Tor, Lightspeed Clarkesworld and Subterranean putting up high-quality stories for free..

    Posted 3 years ago #
  4. ByronBailey
    Member

    "One wonders how long these low-tech monsters can survive, when there are sites like Tor, Lightspeed Clarkesworld and Subterranean putting up high-quality stories for free..."

    Possibly forever. Possibly not very long. Price tends to be a big factor, particulary in a culture that has placed an enormously high value on it like our own. However, there are other factors that can influence buying. I've been reading a little about this in a book on economic anthropology. Sometimes cultural value can be more important than the monetary price. There's a lot of cultural value in the print magazines. With that said, I don't think the current American culture is likely to be too receptive to that cultural value. However, with a strong message of the cultural value of the magazines coupled with a little honest challenge to the culture at large, a significant subculture big enough to keep the magazines thriving might be formed. That subculture probably doesn't exist in strong enough numbers currently. But with the right message, it might start coalescing.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  5. Gordon Van Gelder
    Editor/Publisher

    There will be electronic issues available through Amazon.com as soon as we can get a few kinks worked out. I think they'll be available as subscriptions but I'm not 100% certain about that.

    ---Gordon V.G.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  6. ian_mackereth
    Member

    *sigh*
    You couldn't get your Amazon deal running _before_ you pulled the plug on ereader/fictionwise?

    Plus, I'm morbidly certain that the Amazon deal will be locked to Kindle format, unlike the multiple formats that were available at Fictionwise.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  7. Gordon Van Gelder
    Editor/Publisher

    Yes, it would have been nice if we could have had the new issue up at Amazon.com by now, but it didn't work out that way, for which I apologize. It should be up soon.

    You're correct that the issue will be available in Kindle format only. I'm sorry folks who prefer other formats won't be able to read F&SF in their preferred format, but after a lot of thought, I decided that this was the best thing to do for F&SF. In fact, I think F&SF and Amazon are going to work together well. As it happens, I'll be in Seattle this week to meet with the folks at Amazon and to present the Philip K. Dick Award at Norwescon. If I'm absent from the board for the next week, that's why.

    ---Gordon V.G.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  8. LukeJackson
    Member

    Insisting on reading your written entertainment in the form of ink pressed onto dead trees would seem to be an odd cause to rally round.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  9. Fabrice
    Member

    As for myself, I'm insisting on reading my written entertainment in the form of ink pressed onto dead trees.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  10. PeterNel
    Member

    Electronic copies from Fictionwise are the only way I've accessed F & SF in the past few years. I live in South Africa and I've been unable to buy electronic publications from amazon in the past (can't remember exactly what the problem was). So this does not bode well. Guess I'll have to think hard about a dead tree subscription ... which has its own problems, of course.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  11. pdurrant
    Member

    So long as the Amazon Kindle versions are free from DRM (as the Fictionwise editions were), then converting to ePub for other readers using calibre will be trivial.

    It would be a shame if the e-edition went from multi-format DRM-free to DRMed single format.

    Whatever the DRM situation, I rather suspect that I won't get the next 7 issues for the $23.05 I got in refund for the remainder of my subscription at fictionwise.

    And while I live in hope, Kindle subscriptions seem to take a separate automatic payment with each issue, rather than just a yearly (or two-yearly) subscription.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  12. mermaniac
    Member

    I've noticed that the Amazon subscriptions for Asimovs and Analog will work only for the actual Kindle or the Android, but will not work for the Kindle app for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch.

    Other magazines (Clarkesworld, Apex) are not available as subscriptions; each issue is a separate Kindle eBook. These work fine on every iteration of Kindle.

    I'm fine with purchasing individual issues (I think subscriptions for magazines are probably a thing of the past, anyway). I just would like to be able to read them on my iPad.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  13. davidwb
    Member

    Sadly it appears my long relationship with F&SF will come to an end with the last issue. My Kindle is an iPad which, as noted above, cannot be used with subscriptions at Amazon. Interestingly enough, two other periodicals have also ended their relationship with Fictionwise but are available on the Nook (at least for now). A Nook subscription can be used with the iPad Nook app.

    So long and thanks for all the fish. Too bad this last fish stinks.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  14. phil_ga
    Member

    I have a Kindle and am very happy about the Amazon news. I have had a paper sub for 33 years continuously. Now I read almost exclusively on the Kindle, and my paper issues are just piling up on the desk - still in that brown paper bag. I would never want to purchase single issues, but a digital subscription, because its too patchy. Who knows what gem there is in any particular issue! Thats the point of having a sub (for so many years)! It would be a bit sad if the new Amazon versions were DRM'd because those people without a kindle would not have access (calibre converts anything in a flash, but not DRM'd versions).

    So, will the amazon store allow a subscription digitially delivered to the kindle by whispernet (PLEASE say yes, please say that its not USA only (a MOST disgusting Amazon practice due to publisher demands))?? Or will I have to manually purchase a copy each month (which I would not bother). If I had to go online to buy a copy each month manually, then I think my 33 year relationship will have come to an end...
    If all good, then i cannot wait - very hopeful and excited here...

    Posted 3 years ago #
  15. jasonkchapman
    Member

    I'm sad to hear that F&SF will be Kindle only. I gave the magazine up when FW dropped subscriptions for it, but kept hoping it would show up in on B&N's list. I'd settle for getting an ePub subscription somewhere else, but I'm just not industrious enough to sub through Amazon, download, strip, transcode, and reformat, just to stuff it on one of my readers. That's way too much work.

    I can understand picking just one, though, knowing what the process is like going from pre-press workflow to digital subscription--especially with Amazon.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  16. JohnWThiel
    Member

    Fictionwise may have given up providing when noticing how Pawilee kept calling them "fictiondumb".

    Posted 3 years ago #
  17. stevemowbray
    Member

    Regrettably that will be the end of my reading F&SF. I no longer have room for paper copies and the DRM makes Kindle versions of magazines useless. I have an Android, and the DRM means there's no way to convert the files to something more portable to be used in a better reader than the rather dreadful Kindle for Android. Can't even read issues on a PC because Amazon unaccountably restrict magazines to mobile devices only.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  18. Gordon Van Gelder
    Editor/Publisher

    Since I got back from Seattle, I've been swamped, so I haven't had a chance to post my thoughts here. But I have been following this thread and I'm sorry that we'll be losing some of you subscribers because of my decision to go with Amazon.com exclusively.

    My basic approach has always been to make F&SF available in a wide variety of formats, so the decision to go only with Amazon.com wasn't one I made quickly or lightly. But after looking at the exceptional marketing and promotional opportunities that this arrangement offers us, it made sense to me for us to hitch our wagon to Amazon's.

    I hope some of you who are saying goodbye now will find that you miss us and you'll come back to F&SF, either in electronic or in print format. (I should add here that I got a lot of reading done on the trip to Seattle and the submissions I read included a lot of exciting stories, including a big and diverse helping of science fiction [as opposed to fantasy].)

    But for those of you who are saying goodbye now, I'd like to say thanks for your support. I'm sorry we'll be losing you.

    ---Gordon V.G.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  19. JSWolf
    Member

    You will lose customers and you will piss a good deal of them off. A lot of people will not pay money to Amazon or even want Amazon format. And it isn't as easy to convert from AZW if you are DRM free then it is to get directly in ePub. In my opinion, anyone going exclusive with Amazon is making a really bad business decision. I know you think this is for the best, but it's not. I don't see an issue also going with Amazon, but to dump a lot of customers and go with just one format is bad business.

    Do you want us back? Do you really? If you do, you will go back to supporting ePub as well as any other formats that will help sell issues.

    You say you hope we miss you enough to go back to you. Explain to me how to do that for people who do not have anything to do with AZW and do not format convert.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  20. salyavin
    Member

    I have been a subscriber since you started offering at Fictionwise years ago. I have no room or desire for print format and I will not deal with the amazon format. If somehow I decide I miss the magazine I will be forced to look on bittorrent sites but I doubt I can be bothered. I am not pleased with this decision in the slightest. I wish you could be more like Dell magazines and offer just about everywhere like current issues at fictionwise, sony store, B&N, and yes even amazon so everyone has an option. You are choosing to eliminate customers which is your right I guess.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  21. JSWolf
    Member

    If you want us back, you'll have to offer the electronic format we want. Those of us who are being forced out do not use AZW or Mobipocket. We use ePub or another format. So is forcing us out a good way to do business?

    Posted 3 years ago #
  22. Gordon Van Gelder
    Editor/Publisher

    I remember in 1997, when ASIMOV'S and ANALOG switched to a larger trim size, some people said they would not continue to read the magazines because they didn't like the new format. And I'm sure some of them never read another issue, but others eventually went back to the magazine.

    In 2009, when F&SF switched to a bimonthly schedule, I heard the same thing from some readers. And we did lose a bunch of subscribers who wanted F&SF only when it was coming out every month. But some of those lost subscribers came back.

    Now in 2011 we've dropped several electronic formats to go exclusively with Amazon.com and I'm hearing the same thing. I expect that some of you will never return, but I hope most of you come back.

    JSWolf, I understand why you say I am "forcing" you out, but in fact I am continuing to publish the magazine in two formats that are both readily and widely available. It's your choice to reject both formats and you're welcome to it. But please don't pretend that I am forcing you. You can go over here https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/buy-sub.htm and subscribe to the print edition whenever you want or you can buy a single issue from us here http://www.sfsite.com/fsf/current.htm or you can find our magazine in many stores.

    Is the decision to part ways with Fictionwise and limit ourselves to the Kindle good business? Only time will tell. I certainly think it is, otherwise I wouldn't have made this move. The marketing and promotional opportunities that we're getting with Amazon don't seem to be available anywhere else in the business right now.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  23. rkloh
    Member

    I have been following this discussion for several days. While I sympathize with those who are adamantly opposed to the format change, I think it's worthy pointing out that there are others--possibly quite a few others--who are eagerly looking forward to reading F&SF on our Kindles. Any word yet on how soon this will be possible?

    Posted 3 years ago #
  24. ByronBailey
    Member

    I'm saving up my money in order to replace my Cthulhu idol with a Kindle. I won't be reading any F&SF on my Kindle, though. However, I will be sacrificicing small animals and maybe even virgins to it while buck naked and chanting "Cthulhu fhtagn!". As for F&SF, it's got to be what some disparagingly refer to as "dead trees" for me although I much prefer the term "deified trees." When trees become issues of F&SF, they never die, merely undergo an apotheosis.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  25. JordanHartnett
    Member

    Mr. Van Gelder,

    I think going to the Kindle will be a good thing for F&SF. While I don't own a Kindle e-reader I can get the program for my PC and Netbook at no cost which makes me more inclined to subscribe digitally to F&SF.

    One thing I would like is to be able to purchase a digital subscription directly from the F&SF website instead of having to go through a third party.

    Two, I feel you should also consider putting F&SF out for the Barnes & Noble Nook, too. If I were to purchase a physical e-reader it would not be the Amazon Kindle but the B&N Nook as I feel the Nook has better features. I doubt I will be buying an e-reader the near future, as my netbook also functions great as one, and I can have both the Kindle and Nook at my fingertips, too.

    Let's hope your decision to go with the Amazon Kindle works out! I feel at some point, you will end up getting more digital subscriptions that print ones.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  26. jasonkchapman
    Member

    ByronBailey: "I won't be reading any F&SF on my Kindle, though. However, I will be sacrificicing small animals and maybe even virgins to it while buck naked and chanting "Cthulhu fhtagn!".

    I thought the Old Ones used iPads.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  27. jasonkchapman
    Member

    rkloh: "...eagerly looking forward to reading F&SF on our Kindles. Any word yet on how soon this will be possible?"

    Any time in the last four years. FW subscriptions were multi-format--including .mobi. You can still buy the existing single issues there.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  28. Dr. Sardonicus
    Member

    Gordon Van Gelder said:

    • But after looking at the exceptional marketing and promotional
    • opportunities that this arrangement offers us, it made sense to me
    • for us to hitch our wagon to Amazon's.


    Basing a business arrangement on "marketing and promotional opportunities" can be a two-edged sword, IMO, in that it would tend to promote style over substance. It might, for example, encourage readers, or would-be readers, to base a decision to subscribe on peripheral details like formatting, rather than story content.

    Just out of curiosity, what do the folks at Amazon think they're getting out of the arrangement?

    Posted 3 years ago #
  29. Gordon Van Gelder
    Editor/Publisher

    Sorry I haven't been able to keep up with this discussion thread.

    Our Kindle edition will debut Real Soon Now. Everything's just about ready to go.

    Feedback on the edition will be most welcome, as I'm sure we'll be tweaking it in the future.

    JordanHartnett, all electronic subscriptions will have to go through Amazon.

    Dr. Sardonicus, the answer to your question is complicated and of course it's better for Amazon to answer it, not me. But I did get the impression from them that they want F&SF on the Kindle to be something that emphasizes substance, not style.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  30. JSWolf
    Member

    The problem here is that you are taking F&SF away from me. I don't read it dead tree format since I've been able to read it with my Sony Reader. I prefer this to the paper edition as I don't have to carry an extra book with me when I am not at home. You take away the ePub format and expect us to be happy about going back tot he paper copy. If we wanted the paper copy instead of an electronic copy, we would have been buying the paper copy and this would not matter that you are going Kindle only. But because you've made a really poor business decision, you are taking away the ePub edition for those of us who use that eBook format. Do you care? Seems not. Your smug attitude sure seems like you don't care. You think we will just go with the Kindle version and have to read it say on the computer. This just isn't a viable option.

    What is it with this Kindle deal that you feel is so good that you will risk losing customers and getting bad press? You are the one forcing me away from F&SF. It wasn't my choice. It was yours. Is driving away customers good for business? NO, it is not. Mobipocket/AZW is NOT the only format out there that your customers have been reading. You just don't care and may as well fold since you don't give a damn.

    Posted 3 years ago #

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