What's going on with Extra 2200 South?
Extra 2200 South will be back very soon. It has been a long and very angonizingly slow journey.
The last issue of the magazine was issue 131 which was published in May of 2008. Although there have been no issues since then that does not mean we have not been working towards bringing the magazine back.
Two things happened that together had a major impact on the magazine. One was our decision to combine the cover sheet that went with every issue that went in the mail and showed the name and address of every subscriber, as well as the issue number that the subscription expired. In the past we had send out post cards for subscription renewal. This was a very slow and labour intensive procedure to prepare these postcards for mailing, and prepare and address labels and postage, and take them to the post office. The magazine has never had any full time staff, so such tasks as this would be done as and when time was available and were usually done by family members.
We are a small publisher, and have to watch costs carefully. We studied other methods of handing these tasks and decided to try what many other publishers do, make the renewal notice part of the address label. Did this have an effect. Yes, but not what we expected. Renewals dropped off dramatically, and the number of phone calls and letters about people wondering about where their magazines were increased substantially. Very few of you read the address label and the renewal notice.
The second thing that had a major impact on the magazine was the rapid decline in the number of dealers handling the magazine. Most of our dealers were hobby shops. About this time we started to get a lot of dealers who were cutting back on the number of magazines they were carrying, or ceasing to carry magazines, or in many cases going out of business. Some called or wrote and explained their situation and either cut back on their orders or cancelled their standing orders, or advised they were closing the shops. Others simply vanished into thin air. The result was a very rapid drop in the number of dealers handling our product. The chain reaction was a large number of unpaid invoices, most of which are still outstanding. This hurt.
The effect of these two events was devastating. It was time to regroup and consider our options.
One option was call it quits and we gave that a lot of thought. The urge to do so was great. But in the end we decided to make major changes in the way we did business. Fortunately at the the same there were events happening in the publishing business such that it was becoming economical to print books and magazines with smaller press runs than was previously required.
This resulted in the decision that if we could exist with smaller press runs and could reduce the time we had to devote to administrative and other non-productive tasks we should give it a try. After a long search we found another magazine who was doing basically what we were looking for and through them we were able to contact the software company they dealt with and they were able to modify their software to accommodate our specific requirements. Unfortunately this took a lot longer than any of us expected, but as I write this it looks like we are ready to go.
Some time ago we sent out a circular asking for everyone to reconfirm their mailing address and/or provide us with their email address if they wanted to receive future issues that way. Response was not as good as we expected. Every year we had subscribers move, and we expected that to happen between April 2008 and now as well. If you have not confirmed your address or provided an alternate email address we cannot send you future issues. PLEASE go to our web page and enter the information there. You will find more information on our webpage.
We have not decided whether to offer the magazine through hobby shops and other outlets. Many of those we dealt with in the past no longer exist or still owe us money.
One of the requirements for this to work is that we must rely on the customer to handle some of the basic administative tasks. Every subscriber will have a password that will enable you to access your specific records and it will be your responsibility to ensure that your name and address is maintained and if you move or change address you will go to this file and make the necessary change(s). For those of you who do not have internet access or other legitimate reasons for being unable to do this you can contact us in writing and we will make the changes for you. We ask that you help us as we simply do not have any paid or volunteer staff to do all of these tasks and work on the magazine as well.
You will also be able to renew your subscription, buy back issues, etc., through this system.
Other changes are being made. We will be reducing the number of magazines we print to cover just those required to fill subscriptions and a small reserve for back issue sales.
The magazine itself will not be changing however we will no longer be advertising or accepting long term subscriptions, ten issue subscriptions are a thing of the past.
One things that we have been discussing is how are we going to handle seven plus years of news and data. One option was to publish it in date order, the oldest items first. There are some major logistical work to do it this way as it would mean splitting up a lot of related news items. At the moment we are thinking to do it as we would do any issue, essentially alphabetically. However we have enough news that we should be able to get a number of issues out fairly quickly to bring us up to date.
Since 2008 we have not received very many photos from our readers although we do have some. We also now have our own scanning equipment for scanning of prints, negatives and slides although we are not yet up to speed on learning how to use that equipment. However we have two gentlemen who are experts in this field who have offered to help in training us on these skills. We now can scan slides as they are received and return the originals. Check our web page for specifications if you are doing your own scanning or working from digital images.
Other things of interest and answers to other questions that have come in:
What about older back issues?
The first issue we published was issue 91 and we do not have any back issues in stock for issues older than that. Railfax (The Dover family) own the copyright to issues older than that and have whatever stock exists for them as well. We have no idea how to contact them.
We will soon be initiating a Back Issue sale, for the back issues we published and have in inventory. These would be issues 91 to 131.
The magazine is for sale. Contact me if you are interested. I would like to retire and devote my time to other activities. If no buyer comes forth then we may have to consider other options, but we would prefer to find someone who is interested in taking it over and continuing to publish it.
And yes we plan to continue to ATSF roster series through to completion.
The current issue is #131 published May 2008
Not familiar with our magazine? Take a look at some sample pages!
Extra 2200 South is carried by numerous hobby shops. Check with your fovorite local shop to see if they carry it. If they don't carry Extra 2200 South suggest that they consider doing so, or subscribe directly.