Reinstituting Society Subscriptions
AT THE SOCIETY’S general meeting held in Sydney on 4 March 2006, the Secretary-Treasurer initiated a discussion on whether the Society should reintroduce subscriptions and, if so, at what level. The points were made that the Society’s reserves were dwindling, that it had no significant income stream, and that the use of colour pages in recent issues of Biblionews (resulting in a startling improvement in the journal’s appearance) had vastly increased production costs. Biblionews is, of course, the major expenditure item in the Society’s balance sheet.
In the 2004/05 financial year, three issues of Biblionews were produced at an approximate cost for production and distribution of $3,230 or about $13.50 per potentially paying Society member (i.e. excluding legal deposit and gratis copies to certain libraries). In 2005/06 huge editorial efforts have resulted in a return to on-time publication of Biblionews; if all goes according to plan, seven issues (including this one) will have been published at a cost of approximately $9,550 or $40 per member. This figure was inflated somewhat by the many colour pages in the June and September 2005 issues, and a decision has been made to continue the inclusion of colour pages in future, but to use them more sparingly. Averaging these figures out on a per-issue basis suggests that a normal year’s costs for four issues, some with colour pages, would be in the region of $16 to $20.
Subscriptions have not generally been sought from members for some years now, with a number of exceptions: new members have been asked for a one-off amount of $30; new institutional members pay an annual subscription of $40; the Victorian Branch of the Society remits $2 per issue of Biblionews per member; and the Book Collectors’ Society of South Australia (which is an independent association) is charged a bulk annual Biblionews subscription rate of $13 per member.
There was a unanimous view among members present at the March meeting that annual subscriptions should be reintroduced, and broad agreement that they should be set at $30 for individuals and $40 for institutions. It was also agreed that individual members should be charged a $20 subscription for calendar year 2006 and the full rate in calendar year 2007. The Secretary-Treasurer has since undertaken to negotiate with the South Australian Society in regards to payments for Biblionews and with the Victorian Branch over the moiety to be remitted to the parent Society in respect of each member, the guiding principle being that payments should cover the cost of Biblionews. Notices concerning subscriptions will go out to members shortly after delivery of this (June) issue.
Mark Ferson, Secretary-Treasurer.