We’re providing more hours of listening
(but, sadly, saying goodbye to CDs)
A note from Ken Myers:
For reasons explained below, we will no longer be accepting orders for CD subscriptions to the Journal. Subscribers who have a CD subscription will continue to receive CDs into the next year, but at some point, all CD subscriptions will be fulfilled with our digital edition. This change may be disappointing, but I think it’s ultimately beneficial, as well as necessary.
We have run into two problems which affect our CD distribution. First, many local post offices are frequently sending CDs that we have mailed back to us, claiming that we haven’t paid enough postage, despite the fact that our local postmaster has approved the rate we’re using. We get charged for the return of the CDs, and then pay a premium price to mail the CDs a second time. This more than triples our shipping costs. This mix-up is happening more and more frequently, and — when added to other problems with shipping — we are losing money on many of the CD subscriptions we sell.
In addition, because more customers now prefer the convenience and lower cost of digital subscriptions, our CD duplication costs have gone up. With fewer CD subscribers, we are not benefiting from “economies of scale,” so the duplication and printing costs per unit has increased significantly.
We’ve concluded that we’ll have to suspend the fulfillment of subscriptions on CD sometime in the next year.
I realize that something is lost by not having the Journal on CDs, and I wish these practical necessities didn’t require us to take this step. But the digital format does have some definite advantages. For example, since we released our app, we have produced many hours of special features in addition to the interviews heard on the Journal. My tiny staff and I are poised to introduce you to the benefits of this format and to help you make the transition to a new way of enjoying the work of MARS HILL AUDIO.
For subscribers who have a smart phone or a tablet, the shift should be relatively easy. For listeners who don’t have such a device, we’ve set up a web page to offer some suggestions about how they can listen to our work at home or while driving without the benefit of those maroon and silver disks. See marshillaudio.org/afterCDs for details.
When we first began selling subscriptions via MP3 downloads, a friend accused me of succumbing to the forces of modern gnosticism, that I was giving up on the significance of physical presence. I reminded him that, no matter what medium delivers it, sound is as much a physical presence as are things visual or tactile. Sound — regardless of how it is mediated — engages the body with a compelling, resounding power.
As someone who has worked with producing (and consuming) various media for over 50 years, I believe that this conversion of media format will work for good for our listeners, despite what may seem awkward or alien to some. Stay tuned!
P. S. CD lovers can still build their collection of MARS HILL AUDIO discs with purchases of back issues from marshillaudiocds.org.