Niven says that even though there were signs that Borders was on its way out, she kept sending them copies. “We didn’t want to cut them off because so many readers were going there to buy them,” she says. “We didn’t want them thinking we went out of business.” Due to her witch niche, Niven describes her customer base as one that “isn’t really excited about getting on lists.” The amount of magazines she was sending to Borders was equal to roughly her entire subscriber base, and she says with the store’s closing, she is out between $15,000 and $30,000.

Even though Niven says this is a huge amount of money to make up for, she adds that it’s nothing she can’t fundraise her way out of. She has been letting her readers know about the monetary loss from Borders closing, and says her readers donate because they care about the survival of the magazine. “Basically, we’re back to where we started twenty-five years ago, which is we are living and dying on our subscriber base,” says Niven.

At Mother Jones, Walter is continuing with the newsstand push, and is exploring new markets. They have recently seen success with newsstand sales in Canada, and plan to keep using newsstands as a way to reach out to new readers, “There are people out there who want to buy single copies on the newsstand, and I think that’s going to continue,” says Walter.


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Alysia Santo is a former assistant editor at CJR.