December 31, 2016 · Comments Off on Shipping fees now charged on back issues & software

Juiced.GS has several business practices that make us unique. One is that our subscriptions follow the calendar year: instead of starting when you subscribe, they begin in March of the year you've subscribed to. Although not an industry-standard model, synchronizing everyone's subscriptions makes them easier to manage — which is especially important when the magazine's editorial staff, publisher, sales & advertising team, and circulation department are all just one person!

We have another practice that was also intended to make life easier, but over time, has had just the opposite effect: we've never charged shipping fees on our back issues, instead selling them at a flat rate to all customers, regardless of where they live. This policy was created twenty years ago to avoid the complexity of calculating and charging rates based on weight and destination.

However, postage rates have increased faster than production costs, to the point where shipping internationally is now a break-even ordeal at best. And with last year's introduction of the Opus ][ product line, we're shipping more products than ever before. Fortunately, with the rise in popularity of e-commerce, as well as our transition last year to the WooCommerce platform, it's become easier to anticipate and calculate those shipping fees.

USPS logoTherefore, beginning today, all tangible, non-subscription products will incur USPS shipping fees in addition to their base value. Annual subscriptions will continue to be charged a flat fee based on their destination. For all other products, whether you live in the United States, Canada, France, Australia, or elsewhere, separate shipping costs will be itemized, displayed, and charged during checkout. Back issues, bundles, Opus ][, and Friends for Life are all affected; subscriptions, Concentrates, disk images, and PDFs are not.

Since we previously included the cost of domestic shipping in our prices, we're compensating for this change by lowering the price of our bundles. We've even discounted the PDF editions proportionately. Whether you want the first six volumes in the Early Years, the next four volumes in the Middle Years, or the latest 11 volumes in The Modern Years, you can now get these issues at their lowest non-sale price ever.

We apologize for the need to pass these costs along to you, our loyal customers, but we hope that years of online commerce have acquainted you with the practice of being charged for shipping. If you miss our old way of doing things, be sure to sign up for our email newsletter, where we'll occasionally offer coupons for free shipping.

Thank you for your patience and support. We look forward to serving you in 2017!

September 18, 2009 · Comments Off on Stamp of approval

A typical issue of Microzine.

A typical issue of Microzine. Image courtesy NeighborhoodValues.com.

I grew up with an Apple II in the classroom, where I regularly enjoyed Scholastic's Microzine, a sort of edutainment version of Softdisk. One Microzine game (perhaps Math Mall on issue #22) put players in the role of the proprietor of a a galactic pet store, where they needed to fulfill customers' orders. Shoppers weren't picky about how many or even what kind of pets they wanted — as long as they collectively had the exactly right number of eyes, feet, tails, and other appendages. It might take three space monkeys, two Martian blowfish, and a cosmic coonhound to accommodate their expectations.

Though I haven't seen an issue of Microzine in decades, I don't have to miss this particular game, as I play it every year with the United States Postal Service. With each postage rate increase, I have to determine what stamps to buy to mail an issue of Juiced.GS. For example, it costs $2.92 to send an issue to Australia, but there's no single stamp with that value. What lesser stamps can I combine to come closest to that number? It can't be less than $2.92, but the greater the total is, the more cents are lost. It's an inexact but demanding science.

There are enterprise alternatives to this chore: both Stamps.com and a Pitney Bowes mail meter would let me purchase and apply postage from my own home office. But both require a monthly fee, making them more suitable to companies that mail products regularly. That describes Juiced.GS's former publisher, Syndicomm, which markets a variety of Apple II hardware, software, and publications. But for Gamebits, whose sole product is Juiced.GS, paying monthly for something I'd use quarterly is not economical.

And besides, it's not a great burden to manually address and stamp envelopes four times a year. But it does explain why your issues will be arriving this month featuring lauded authors and wedding cakes. It's not a hidden message so much as it's a manifestation of skills I learned on an Apple II.