Our Issue With Back Issues
It’s been two years since we launched our crowdfunding campaign to support the debut issue of Hamam. Like many other independent magazines getting started, we didn’t have readers that advertisers would pay to reach, so we set our campaign goal to cover the whole cost of printing and shipping the first issue and paying our contributors an honorarium. Thanks to family, friends, and a surprising number of internet strangers, we officially became publishers in fall 2020.
The first issue was embraced by the indie publishing world—we were blown away by the reception from juggernauts such as magCulture, Stack Magazines, and Creative Review. We received offers from around the world to stock and distribute our magazine. But as our stockist list grew, we noticed the extent of advertising’s influence on all recurring publications—whether they run ads or not.
The arrangements proposed, and eventually accepted, to sell Hamam all had similar terms, which are not particularly friendly to publishers. With rare exceptions, distributors and retailers work on consignment and will market an issue for a certain amount of time or until we publish a new one. Not all magazines subsidize their revenue with ads, and not all magazines are collected and cherished well beyond the issue date, but stockists don’t make that distinction, so any leftover copies were destroyed or returned at our expense. This has been the fate of our beloved back issues.
Selling creative work takes guts. We know lovers of Hamam see and appreciate this, because they tell us. (Thank you—you make our day every single time.) We’re okay accepting the risk of putting something new into the world, which is why we’ve decided to only sell Hamam through our website from now on. Whether you’re a stockist or just a big fan, we’ll automatically discount any bulk order (that’s at least 10 copies) by 40%. We also removed issue numbers from our website so as to avoid any back issue bias. Regardless of when it was printed, each issue of Hamam is a timeless work, and we hope you’ll collect and cherish them in any order.