– A Frequently Asked Question!
By Ranjit Butani
I have often been asked by SINDHISHAAN subscribers “Why don't you have a lifetime subscription fee like most other community magazines and save us the bother of keeping track of our subscriptions?”. My counter question, although delivered in jest “I agree, but please define the term “lifetime” – does it pertain to your, mine or the magazine's?”. And invariably I get a hearty laugh and there is no further discussion on the issue, but my question remains unanswered.
Seriously speaking, when publishers collect lifetime subscriptions what is the actual term of reference? If it is the magazine's lifetime its absolutely fine with me – I can charge a fat lifetime subscription fee and still have liberty to take the decision of discontinuing the publication at my convenience without any qualms regarding the need to consider any refunds.
NO ONE compelled me to embark on this endeavour – it was solely my own decision and I will not be deprived of the right to discontinue whenever I feel the need to do so, although I have no such intent at the moment. But now, at least I can quantify what has to be refunded to each subscriber, should the situation arise. What amount do I have to refund to lifetime members – were I to start accepting lifetime subscription fees. Lets face it I can't call every subscriber and ask him “How long do you think you're going to be around? – CAN I?
At the same time do I ask my subscribers to send me a certificate on the lines pensioners are required to furnish at prescribed intervals to continue claiming their pensions, that they are still around and I should continue mailing their copies. Conversely if God forbid, something happens to me will my heirs be subjected to law suits and claims if the publication of the magazine is discontinued ?
TOO MANY QUESTIONS; TOO MANY LOOSE ENDS; so I've adopted the simple subscription plan; which gives me a lot of peace of mind and freedom.