Aquarium Magazine Shuts Down After Twenty-four Years

October 2012 will be the final issue of Aquarium Fish International.  In a form letter to subscribers, a marketing manager refered to increasing printing and postal costs as the reason the publication has been stopped.

Luckily, the increasing costs of printing and postage that afflicted Aquarium Fish International do not appear to be affecting dogs to the same degree–because the letter (a black and white postcard really) reassuringly indicated that the balance of my subscription was transferred to Dog Fancy. Whew, thank goodness high printing costs and postage don’t affect dog lovers–and let’s hope it’s not contagious.

What ever happened to honesty being the best policy?

I’m really going to miss my monthly dose of AFI. AFI is the reason I started writing. For those of you who don’t subscribe, AFI used to run two columns where they actively solicited submissions from readers–Aquabits (news clips) and Aquarist’s Notebook. That’s where I first got ‘the bug’ to write.  Then the bug became an obsession.

I’m sure things are tough for the people behind the scenes at AFI. Magazine publishing is a notoriously difficult industry. I know I was a bit harsh just a moment ago about the printing and publishing costs–rising costs are a threat to nearly every magazine and newspaper in print. I’m sure closing the magazine was a very difficult decision and it likely affects the lives of many people who depend on the magazine for their living.  I just didn’t appreciate being shuffled off to Dog Fancy–especially since receiving a subscription to Dog Fancy didn’t address either of the two ‘evils’ that were forcing them to close my beloved fish magazine.

My heart goes out to the good people at AFI. I hope the editors, copywriters, sales teams and others are treated with a little more respect than we subscribers were.

Publishing isn’t a charity. I get it. But how is a subscription to Dog Fancy really a substitute for my Aquarium Fish International magazine? Am I supposed to be thankful that they ‘made arrangements to transfer the balance of my subscription to Dog Fancy?’ I even get the psychology behind making the ‘default option’ (in this case the subscription to Dog Fancy) their preferred option. The odds are in their favor–the vast majority of people won’t do anything. But how about a little sincerity? and how about an opt-out?

I think my fellow subscribers and I can handle the truth. The magazine wasn’t profitable enough to keep going. You also can’t really afford to give everyone their money back. But if you’re looking for the common thread that ties aquarium hobbyists together–try our humanity–try our ability to handle (and understand) the truth—not our fancy for dogs.

To Cassandra, Patricia and others I’ve worked with at AFI over the past several years, I’m very sorry to see the magazine go away, and I  hope everything works out for you and your families. If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know. I wish you all the best. To the writers, editors and others working at Dog Fancy–no offense intended–I just don’t fancy dogs.

I’ll be checking my mailbox for the October issue of Aquarium Fish International–it’s one I plan to keep.


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