This month we face the hard, cold facts of winter, and—as we all know so well—the equally hard and cold facts of inflation.

As I sit here at my desk looking over the magazine inflation figures I’ve been handed, I feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland gaping at the results of magic growth potions. We’ve all been hit by inflation—25 per cent since 1975. But in that same period, the printing and paper costs for putting out CHRISTIANITY TODAY have increased even faster. Postage has gone up an incredible 120 per cent! That’s a per unit cost; it has nothing to do with our circulation growth.

But the worst is yet to come. The post office has decided to greatly increase nonprofit publications’ rates. Talk about planned inflation. In the next three years alone, postage (second class) for mailing the magazine will increase another 160 per cent and for promotional mailings (third class postage) 190 per cent! The figures are so large one feels like rubbing one’s eyes or tossing the papers skyward.

We have been painfully aware of these facts for some time, as I pointed out in our June 23 issue. But the time has come when we are forced to act. We realize that the last thing our readers need is a rate increase, yet we have not boosted prices since the summer of 1975. So, effective March 31 the subscription price 300% for one year (22 issues) of CHRISTIANITY TODAY will go from $15.00 to $18.00. We are sorry to take this action, but to move toward a breakeven basis without heavy subsidies, we believe we must.

Projected U.S. Postage inflation in 1979

Projected U.S. Postage inflation in 1979

Frequently we receive questions about how our operation works. Do we have our own printing presses? Our own computers? How many are on the staff?

We employ 22 persons. Our printing is done by Hart Press in Long Prairie, Minnesota—owning our own presses would be prohibitively expensive. Subscription fulfillment is handled by Automatic Fulfillment Service in Dover, New Jersey.

There may be some readers who blink their eyes at this point and wonder whether we shouldn’t have the computers in our own basement for better control. We have faced many subscription fulfillment difficulties in 1978. However, the volume of complaint mail is now much lower than when the transition from our former fulfillment house was made. If you have faced problems with your subscription, please feel free to write me directly here at the Carol Stream address and we will check it out for you. If there are remaining tales of woe and grief, please let us know right away!

We are pleased in this issue to announce a new service for our readers—a church directory, which will appear regularly beginning with the May 4 issue. C.T.’s readers, like most Americans, are constantly on the move. They take vacations, move to new communities, start attending college or seminary, and take business trips. The church directory will help readers who want to select a church to worship in while visiting a city for a weekend, or help them find a church home as they move into a new area.

This can be your opportunity to reach out to others who share convictions in harmony with CHRISTIANITY TODAY. If your church would like contact with C.T. readers through the directory, you can enter your listing for a small charge. Certainly churches are in a special category for CHRISTIANITY TODAY, and we have set the charges for this service considerably below that of any other advertisement. For more information on the program, turn to page 35.

Roy Coffman, director of sales and advertising, suggested the church directory and is developing all aspects of the program. His assistant, Sharon Balow, will handle all orders and put together the pages. Roy joined us this past July with ten years of experience in publishing. His commitment to Christian work was such that he joined C.T. even though comfortably established with a fine publishing company. He is taking large responsibility here and we are delighted with his spirit and insights.

Sharon, who graduated from Wheaton College with a B.A. in Art, joined us as receptionist when we moved CHRISTIANITY TODAY to Carol Stream in June, 1977. She took over her advertising duties in February, 1978, and has done her job in an efficient and gracious manner. Please feel free to contact Roy or Sharon with any questions you have about the program.

Harold Myra

President, Christianity Today, Inc.

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