At time of writing, Cranked #13 is a few days away from delivery. We thought it might be a good idea to try setting up a pre-order system for the new issue. We thought it’d be an even better idea to give away some of the Cranked frame decals we had left over from the London Bike Show earlier in the year, for every copy of #13 pre-ordered. Clearly, so did a fair few folk who placed their pre-orders soon after we posted the offer online.
Except… not yay. A few subscribers, not entirely unreasonably, felt that they were being left out. “Hope subscribers are getting stickers too”, said one typical message.
Short answer: sorry, no. Slightly longer answer: we don’t have enough stickers in stock to do that and, even if we did, it’s not quite that simple.
But… we’re just talking about a few stickers, right? I mean, how hard can it be?
Here’s the full answer, for anyone who’s interested. We did actually send free stickers out with every subscriber issue when we launched Cranked #1 (at least, we did until we ran out of stickers… see the theme here?). It was relatively straightforward. Back then we handled all the packing and shipping in-house, so we (there were two of us) sat on the floor and put stickers in each copy of the mag, before packing each copy in its cardboard sleeve, sticking the address and postage labels on, and putting it in a mail sack. There were a few hundred of them and it took, if memory serves, about a day and a half. Yep, really.
The thing is, three years later we’ve got rather a lot more subscribers. It would take us way too long to pack and ship all the mags, and that’s without taking into account inserting stickers into each one. So now we leave all that to our excellent warehouse and distribution crew, who do the whole thing much more efficiently and quickly than we ever could.
But that means a couple of things. First, we can’t just insert stickers (or anything else) into subscriber copies without planning it in advance. And second, there is of course a cost associated with the inserts. It takes time to do, and time is money and all that crap, y’know. Plus, did we mention we have one or two more subscribers than we used to? So the cost of inserting a couple of stickers with each subscriber copy is… actually quite substantial, in total. It all adds up, especially with a long subscriber list.
But, more to the point, we didn’t think of it in time. In one of those ‘this seems like a good idea’ moments, the idea of sending some of our remnant decal stock out with pre-orders had passed from brainwave to social media post before anyone could say, ‘have you thought this through?’
So here’s the thing: we can’t send every subscriber a sticker, this time around. We will send you a sticker if you subscribe, and if you drop Seb a line with your address (so he doesn’t have to spend half his day trawling through our database to match email addresses to real ones). And we may send all our lovely subscribers, who we hold in the highest regard, some stickers with a future issue.
But not this one, OK?