In our issue dated July 14, I used this space to tell you about some radical increases that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has just thrown our way. Our postage bill was jumping by $1,000 a day for the coming year! And from some reliable sources, we were warned to be ready for still more increases next year.
Yet I told you readers bluntly that retreat was not an option. No way were we going to cut editorial content, move WORLD exclusively to the web, or print fewer pages.
I asked you instead in my column that week: What if we could find a way to send you a better, thicker, more comprehensive magazine-but to send it every two weeks instead of on our present schedule? What if we sent you 26 jumbo issues a year instead of 48 issues of the current standard size?
I invited you to use either email or phone to tell us your preferences. By web, email, and phone, around 5,000 of you responded. Here's what you said:
Well over 60 percent of you said you liked our proposal. Another 25 percent of you said it didn't make any difference-that you'd like WORLD either way. Together, you totaled an amazing 85 percent base.
Still another 10 percent of you responded loyally that while you didn't think you'd like a biweekly magazine as well, you'd be happy to give it a try.
Amazingly, only 4 or 5 percent of you said you didn't like the idea to the point that you might not resubscribe.
(We should tell you that there wasn't so much as a sliver of difference between the opinions of email and phone respondents-in any of the categories.)
Armed with such tremendous reader support, our team pursued the biweekly format even more aggressively. How would WORLD's editorial content be affected? What about production timing, printing, shipping, and virtually every other aspect of creating a first-class magazine?
So now, after a busy, prayerful summer of evaluating the change, it's official: WORLD will indeed become a larger biweekly magazine, effective this coming January. Instead of 48 issues a year, we'll produce 26. But when you do the rest of the math, it's clear that you come out ahead.
With the bigger format, each issue of WORLD will provide more than twice the editorial pages of our current weekly magazine. Right now, we're offering about 1,300 editorial pages a year; under our expanded format, we're planning to top 1,400. So over the course of a year's subscription, we're promising more than 100 pages extra.
Sorry-if you subscribed to WORLD just for the cover every week, or for the masthead or table of contents, we don't have doubling-up plans to compensate for such losses!
Often, one or two pages just can't tell a whole news story. Having extra space means more in-depth coverage and analysis. It also opens the opportunity for a wider variety of topics and features, and for greater breadth of appeal. The new WORLD will add sections on Personal Finance, Lifestyle (food, fashion, travel, parenting, personal technology), and Charity. We're also doubling our coverage of books-with more reviews, author interviews, and recommendations. All of WORLD's cultural reviews will feature more in-depth biblical worldview analysis.
WORLD will add to our roster of reader favorites like Andrée Seu and Marvin Olasky more columns and columnists: You'll benefit from new regular columns by editor Mindy Belz, renowned cultural critic Gene Edward Veith, and others.
WORLD's larger format will also enable us to give you more useful and richer photos and graphics, including maps, tables, and charts. Each issue will even provide a quick-read calendar to preview the news you'll want to watch in the days and weeks just ahead.
All this because of a postage increase? An increase against which we actually fought and prayed?
But how many times have you had to thank God for answering your prayers His way instead of yours? Even now, I don't feel much like sending the folks at USPS a thank-you note for their rate increase. But if that's what God decided He needed to get our attention to create a larger, more in-depth WORLD, maybe I should.
But would it be OK if I just sent them an email?