The Magazine Sub Game: Esquire Has a New Wrinkle

Esquire subscribers now are being offered two free gift subscriptions if they renew their current sub. The offer is three subscriptions for $29.97—essentially $10 a year for each. The regular one-year sub offer is $12 a year, with some offers $8 a year, so the $30 Esquire offer of three for $30 isn’t that much of a deal.

But a smart move for Esquire—it builds circulation at a small discount and they then can hope some of the recipients of the gift subscriptions will renew.

But Esquire, as more magazines are doing, makes it harder to drop a subscription. To get the three subs you have to agree to what they call the “Continuous Service Program”—the subscription automatically renews unless you contact Esquire to tell them not to charge your credit card for a renewal. And, as with the New Yorker, Esquire won’t tell you what the renewal will cost.

In the case of the New Yorker, which normally charges $99.95 for a one-year subscription, I’ve received e-mails from people who say that the New Yorker charged them $119.95 for a year’s sub and sometimes $149.95 after the low-cost introductory rate expired. The Economist, to its credit, offers a good introductory rate but is up front as to what the annual sub will then cost. An honest way to treat the reader.

Here’s how Esquire does the how to stop the automatic renewal:

Continuous Service Program: I understand that unless I tell you otherwise, I will receive uninterrupted service of my gift and other subscription(s). My gift and other subscription(s) will be automatically renewed at the end of each subscription term at the rate then in effect, and I authorize you to charge the credit/debit card I provided. I won’t be bothered with renewal invoices. Instead, each year, I will receive a clearly marked reminder notice with the then current rates for my gift and other subscription(s) about 30 days prior to charging my credit/debit card. I may opt out of the automatic renewal at any time by contacting customer service and receive a refund for all unmailed issues of my gift and other subscription(s).

10/3/18 Update:

Fall Sale: Subscribe to Vanity Fair and get 1 year for just $8, plus a free tote bag.

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