Letter to Reason Magazine Subscribers

Dear Reason Reader:

The other day I calculated that Reason needs to raise an additional $100,000 per issue to pay its bills. That's in addition to the money we earn from subscriptions, list rental, advertising, and other commercial sources.

I don't know about you, but $100,000 is a lot of money to me. And $1.1 million a year is almost too disturbing to think about. I remind myself that other magazines -- even The New Yorker -- lose much more than that, but sometimes I wonder how Reason is going to survive this way, and whether it's all worth it.

Then I check my e-mail, or look over the "Talk Back to Reason" cards that our subscribers send in, and I read things like this:

"If I have been able to develop a true life of the mind (as I hit middle age with a begrudging thud), it has been in some considerable measure thanks to your magazine and your efforts. I read other magazines, of course, but Reason resonates and inspires, and its vision of Liberty must be an enduring one."

And this:

"I look forward to getting the next Reason all month long and I usually read it cover-to-cover the day it comes. I wish you were a weekly. Hell, a daily paper even."

And when I wonder whether Reason is having any effect on how people see things, I read letters like this:

"Having read many of your articles in Forbes ASAP, I decided to check out your magazine today. Searching the web, I found your website. Much to my surprise, I discovered that your magazine promotes a libertarian perspective. I, like many Americans, have come to associate the term libertarian with extremists and anarchists. I am somewhat chagrined to find that my stereotype is far off the mark.

In fact, I must thank you for opening my eyes. As I read your articles, I couldn't help but find myself agreeing with you on almost every issue. I think most members of my generation would agree. We've grown up in a society where people rely on big brother to take care of them rather than rely upon themselves. I, for one, am tired of it."

As an editor and journalist, there's nothing more gratifying than knowing that your words resonate with people and help them make sense of the world. Reading letters like these reminds me of how I felt when I was a Reason subscriber. Reason helped to shape my world view, and gave a voice to my beliefs. Reason spoke out against my villains and boosted my heroes. Reason gave me hope.

And, as Reason supporter, I'm proud to know that I'm part of something that really makes a difference. I know that the money I contribute to Reason is helping to shape the climate of opinion and bring free market solutions to greater prominence. I know that I'm taking a stand for what I believe in, and helping to keep the magazine I care about alive.

When you receive your copy of Reason every month on time, it's easy to forget that we still have to struggle for survival in the cutthroat business of publishing. We still have to compete with magazines that have multi-millionaire publishers to keep them afloat. Even with a $100,000 monthly deficit, we still have to find the money to pay our editors, and our rent, and -- most expensive of all -- our printer and the post office. Every month the battle goes on.

Unlike The Nation, we don't have a "sugar daddy" like Paul Newman to keep us afloat. Instead -- and I think more to our credit -- we have thousands of people like you, who choose to support Reason beyond the price of a subscription. We have dedicated readers who consider Reason their magazine, and who send their tax-deductible contributions to help us pay the bills.

Won't you join them, and help us to survive and eventually close that $100,000 gap? With your help, we can continue changing minds, and reaching out to people like those who write to me. If you allow us to, we can continue to spread our vision of "free minds and free markets."

We'll return the favor by keeping you informed on the achievements and activities of your magazine. You'll receive our quarterly newsletter, Reason Report, as well as special benefits just for supporters. (See the enclosed card for more details.)

Please join me, and the rest of this select group of Reason readers, by becoming a supporter. Send your tax-deductible contribution today, and give Reason the resources it needs to survive.

Thanks again,

Virginia I. Postrel

P.S. Don't forget to participate in your employer's matching gift program if you can! You could double your contribution.