Combined ShippingSo the good news is that after almost a year of Sega Mania existing (July 2021 is when we launched...we expect a birthday gift!) I have finally managed to get combined shipping working.
It was always something we wanted to do from day one but turned out to be more complex to sort than we thought, mainly due to us having preorders purchasable. Preorders may be controversial in the gaming world, but to us they are very important as not only do they help us gauge interest for print numbers, but they keep the bulk of the shipping and packing work inside one block of time rather than spread out over weeks. So we could never sacrifice them for the sake of fixing shipping policies.
As many you will have experienced, buying multiple copies from us up until now, has always resulted in a full shipping price per item, making shipping expensive, especially for those overseas. We never took advantage of that and always sent you individual packages to prove we were not pocketing the difference, but for some people it was so expensive it put them off buying the magazine altogether. We did recently introduce the Three Issue Bundle for issues 1, 2 and 3 to alleviate this somewhat, but for some reason, despite it being on the homepage and store page, people just weren't spotting it and I've had quite a lot of emails from new customers saying that they'd love to buy our first three issues but won't because the postage is crazy expensive when buying them all at once...only for them to go ahead and buy once I pointed the bundle out to them. It was this phenomena that has finally made me sit down and spend a whole day trying to fix our shipping and I'm pleased to say I have, as for every potential customer who contacted me to talk about the shipping cost, there was probably ten more customers who said nothing and just didn't come back after seeing the cost when buying more than one magazine.
So, as of today combined shipping is now available and I want to thank each and every one of you so far for putting up with our pricey shipping, it means a lot to us that you decided to support us even though this may have been a significant financial hurdle for you. It was never intentional on our part, just something I wasn't able to technically and logistically able do for a long time. Going forward, buying multiple back issues should be significantly cheaper and they will all arrive in one package.
So, many of you will be aware of the Issue 3 shipping fiasco (which we never got compensated for and likely never will by the way...but such is life, we have insurance now!!) and because it was such an ordeal we took extra care to make sure the same thing didn't happen again for Issue 4.
Well the good news is that almost all of the Issue 4's got to their destination correctly, the bad news is that we seem to have had a bad batch of cellophane packaging sleeves. Many people reported that their magazine had arrived with the packaging open down one side, and...this isn't a joke I promise...more than one person received just the cellophane! No magazine, no cardboard insert, just the cellophane. Anyway off the back of this we have decided to change our packaging going forward to try and stop this happening again. From now on all magazines will be shipped in a stronger, watertight sealable poly-bag with a cardboard insert. I don't feel good about using even more plastic but as a company with very fine margins and print volumes we just cannot afford expensive eco packaging and we can't take a risk with paper envelopes which could get wet.
Issue 5 is still coming along nicely, we promised an early April release and that is still looking realistic, but we are anticipating the second week in April rather than the first, this is mainly down to my own personal circumstances, my IRL work has been incredibly busy and due to the dreaded C virus hitting my family and our childcare in the last two weeks, life has been quite challenging...this has put me behind in getting pages planned but the rest of the team are churning out their articles like there's no tomorrow so I am the weak link at the moment. I'll give you more insight into how it's going nearer the time.
Issue 1: Remastered EditionSome of you may have spotted on social media what appears to be a new cover for Issue 1 and are probably a bit confused.
(This is the controversial bit of the blog btw).
We have been working tirelessly over the last few months to try and get more people interested in Sega Mania. We've done the podcast (which is going really well and we're really enjoying doing it to). We've done some cross promotion with Iain Lee and all the usual social media and advertising that we normally do.
This has brought in some new customers which is great but we have started to notice something:
If someone comes to our site for the first time and they buy Issue 3 or 4, they normally then go on to order Issue 5 and pick up Issue 1 and 2 as well. However, what most people tend to do is pick up Issue 1 first and then we find that they usually don't come back. In fact, 80% of first time customers will buy Issue 1 and then we never see them again. The complete opposite of those who buy a later issue first.
Now we can't know for sure why this may be. It could be that we're just not the magazine for them. It could be that us doing the whole one year at a time thing isn't their thing either. However what I strongly suspect it to be is that Issue 1 just isn't up to the standard that some people might expect.
This is a delicate matter because most of you bought Issue 1 and the last thing we want to say is, what you bought is rubbish and you were foolish to do so, that is not the case at all. You were there for our initial vision and a lot of our communication at the time took you through our journey and what our plans were and how we were learning, and I hope you agree that we've now begun to prove that to you, especially with Issue 4. We also thank you for having such faith in us as well!
However for new customers, our messaging has moved on since then and we don't really talk about any of that stuff anymore, and I can't help but think that they are looking at our first issue, are not aware of our journey and improvements and are being slightly let down by its design and just not coming back. So I have decided to go back and try and patch it up a little and bring the standard a little closer to what our later issues are.
Other than the cover (which I'll get to later), very little is significantly changing. The writing is almost identical. Other than a new TV section to bring it in line with the other issues, there is no new written content at all. The contents page is being switched for the new style as seen in Issue 4 and two of Mike's movie reviews have been dropped so that the remaining two can go into the new style format we use in all the other magazines. The primary focus is on things like the fonts used, the spacing, the margins...just the general neatness. After some tweaking it might even end up being less pages once everything is tightened up. Some of these changes have already been made and have been released as an update to the digital edition but the bulk of the work still needs to be done and at the moment Issue 5 is my bigger priority so it will be a while until it's ready.
Now the cover however is a different story, and I can understand if a case of FOMO arises for existing owners of Issue 1. The reason I chose to make such a drastic change is simply down to the fact that I personally hate our Issue 1 cover with a passion. It was a last minute design change after I dropped the original which was even worse (if anyone wants to see that monstrosity, let me know) and I've never really been 100% happy with it. It has served its purpose really well and in some ways I'll really miss it due to its legacy and history, but now we are moving onto much better quality covers, I just don't feel like it stands up as well as it used to. We are rapidly running out of copies of Issue 1 and honestly I just can't bring myself to have it printed again as it currently stands. A remaster of the magazine is a prime time to switch it out for something new which will match the quality of later issues.
The new cover (see bottom of email) has been designed by James Marsh (see his portfolio here) and we think he's done a superb job.
So why is this all potentially controversial? Well because it could be seen as a ploy by us to get you to part with your hard earned cash all over again for something you've already bought, but we promise you that isn't the intention. Other than the cover, there are so few changes internally that it really isn't worth you buying it again. I mean you are more than welcome to of course, and as always we'll appreciate your support and dedication, but this is primarily for the benefit of new customers to try and show them the better side of Sega Mania from our very first issue onwards, in an effort to get them to carry on the journey with us. We will of course, release the new cover art as a poster as an alternative way of getting a hold of it if you would really like to have it without treading over old ground.
Ultimately the old Issue 1 will soon cease to be and the new version will take its place. I'm not entirely sure when the first copies of the new Issue 1 will be available and shipped, it's probably going to be at least a month away, but it will go onto the site as a reservable option in the next few days, and I'll send out an email to let you all know. Our primary focus is Issue 5 right now so not much time will be spent on the Issue 1 remaster until that is done.