Sending Out an S.O.S.

The U.S. Postal Service's rate hikes are endangering music's free press

None of that helps Verbicide's Jackson Ellis who, aside from writing a letter to his congressman and signing a petition sponsored by The Nation, can only sit back and wait for what seems like an inevitable price hike for his struggling magazine.

"I really don't know what my plan of attack is at this point," he says, adding that, for him, it's a triple blow: In addition to the periodical rate increase, he often uses media mail to send CDs to his reviewers and surface mail to ship Verbicide internationally. "I don't make money on my magazine," he adds. "Someday, I would love to. But with the way things seem to be going, I don't really see that as a reality."

Last year, the last independent magazine distributor Independent Press Association went out of business and took many smaller magazines off the newsstands. Now, the latest postal hikes could make the prospect of independent publishing more dismal.

Greg Hart

At this point, Ellis is considering giving up his magazine altogether, a sentiment that's likely to be echoed by many of his peers that also lack six-digit circulation numbers or parent companies. "It's been my dream since I was a kid to run a magazine," Ellis says. "I turn 27 this year. I don't want to see my dream end just because of the cruel logistics of the dollar bill, but if these proposed policies go through, I'm not going to have any other choice. It's literally impossible."

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