Sky rocketing postal increases and rising paper prices are threatening many small magazines. But our oil and meal still haven’t run out!
A year ago, we had a visit from a sales rep for United Litho, Last Generation’s printer. She warned us that unprecedented postal increases were about to break on the publishing industry. Also waiting in the wings was a substantial paper price increase. The printing industry was estimating that 30 percent of small periodicals might go out of business.
I knew that there were only so many of these price increases that could be passed on before we started losing subscribers. Of even deeper concern to me were our overseas free literature accounts. Overseas shipping would nearly triple! Now our free literature money would have to pay for a higher proportion of mailing costs.
But that wasn’t all. Next came the news that because donations had decreased, yearly funding for free literature was being cut by $20,000! I was beginning to feel like Job. But then I remembered that throughout the twenty years of our existence, the barrel of meal and the cruse of oil had never failed to provide the finances to give spiritual bread to the hungry.
Remembering God’s command that we be wise stewards, I began to consider what we could do to stay in business. We reevaluated our free literature program, cutting where necessary and scaling back in some instances. The postal increases came with a hidden blessing. The service to international destinations was much better—airmail versus surface shipping. It no longer took two to three months for the magazines to reach their overseas destinations. In most cases they arrived in two weeks or less. This gave us better control over our shipments and better communication with our literature missionaries.
But when the paper price increases arrived, I knew that I would have to look for a new printer. United Litho is situated near Washington, D.C., a region with high labor costs. Reluctantly I began to prospect for a new printer with lower labor costs.
When I found one that could provide the same service for $2,000 less per issue, including the freight to ship it to our local mailer, this seemed to be the step we should take. But I contacted United Litho once more, letting them know that we would prefer to stay with them if possible.
The next day, the sales rep called back in great excitement. They were just purchasing a new piece of equipment that could greatly reduce production costs on our particular format. Would we be willing to sign a three-year contract with them for $2,000 less per issue? This seemed too good to be true!
We accepted the offer, praising God for filling once more our cruse of oil and our barrel of meal. Even with paper price and postal increases, we won’t have to increase our subscription rates, and we can still provide free literature to our overseas contacts.