You are certainly well aware of the current difficult economic situation that affects us all in our daily life. Unfortunately, on top of this challenging economic situation, there are many other factors that are also hurting magazine publishers like Protoculture.
Even before the global recession, both the Japanese and the North American anime industries were going through a small crisis that has forced many anime companies to restructure and implement cut-backs. While they are going through this process, anime companies are considerably reducing their advertising budgets and this in turn makes things very hard for anime magazines.
Magazine publishers, in general, were already having a hard time, because their readership is relying more and more on the Internet to access information and is moving away from print publications. At the same time, the bookstore and newsstand distribution system is falling apart. The distribution system is already rather inefficient and wasteful (only 30-40% of magazine copies are sold and the rest are trashed), but it is also getting more expensive for publishers, as distributors seek to increase their fees. Because of problems with our distributor, we had to stop distributing Protoculture Addicts in bookstores and newsstands with issue #97 and we are now trying our best to find alternate solutions.
Finally, at the beginning of the year, our editor-in-chief was repeatedly sick and needed some time to recover.
All those factors have forced us to follow the example of many anime industry companies. We had to lay-off some of our staff, make cut backs, and take some time to restructure our production process. It was necessary to delay the release of the magazine in order to adjust its format and make it more appealing to readers.
Such lengthy production delays are nothing new for Protoculture Addicts. The magazine has always been irregular (we released only two issues in 2004, six issues in 2005, two only again in 2006, five issues in 2007 and three in 2008) and most of our readers are probably used to this situation. Strangely, what can be seen at first as a major inconvenience, can sometimes become a blessing. The fact that we have a small (but very dedicated) staff sometimes presents challenges, but it can also become our greatest asset during such challenging times. It makes us more flexible and versatile, and that's why the magazine has survived for so long and will endure even longer.
In conclusion, there is no need to worry: Protoculture Addicts is not dead, it is only on a longer than usual hiatus while we restructure the magazine. We hope you like the result of our work, as it will be a bit of a departure from our previous work. In recognition of the changing media world, we will be changing the magazine's focus. Each issue will be a special issue focused entirely on one topic; we call them "thematic issues". This might seem like a huge change from our previous format, but in reality, our mission remains the same. We seek to introduce you to exciting facets of anime culture that you may not have previously explored. We'll just be going about it in a different format than before.
We will also, for the moment, reduce the frequency of the magazine to two or three issues per year. For 2009, we are planning only two thematic issues, one to be released in the Summer (around late-July) and the other in late Fall (around mid-November).
The first thematic issue (technically it will be issue #98) will be titled 80 Anime You Must Watch! Whether you're a long time anime fan, or just getting started, this guide will introduce you to some of the most interesting anime you've never heard of. We've selected the best anime, the most thought-provoking anime, the funniest anime, and the most unique anime, and brought them together in one place. A perfect starting point for new anime fans, and a damn good way for the veteran otaku to find the best anime they've missed. It also includes the ten most overrated anime, ten best soundtracks and several other “top-10” lists. The Protoculture Addicts guide to 80 Anime You Must Watch! will be 100-page and priced at $7.95 US/CND. Protoculture Addicts is your best guide to anime culture!
We remind subscribers that their subscription to Protoculture Addicts is not a yearly membership fee but rather a commitment on our part to deliver to you six issues. Therefore, if you subscribed to the magazine, you will definitely receive six issues (or the number of issues remaining in your subscription), no matter how many issues are released in one given year. Please also note that, despite the price change to $7.95, the subscription fee remains at $30.00 US/CND.
We thank you for your understanding and support and we apologize profusely for this lengthy publication delay.
Check the web site (www.protoculture-mag.com) or the magazine's blog (protoculture-mag.blogspot.com) for further announcements.