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In October 2004 I subscribed to the Far Eastern Economic Review. Only a few weeks after I subscribed I was informed that the magazine would cease to exist in its current form (due to more information being readily available online), and that I would be receiving a monthly magazine with more in-depth stories. The new magazine was not what I expected it to be (in-depth articles: yes, but too long and boring for me to read in my spare time), so I have cancelled the subscription in October 2005.

In November 2005 I then subscribed to BusinessWeek’s Asian Edition. And what happens? They close down as well a few weeks after signing up. I still have almost two years left on my subscription, but am not sure what to do now. They offer to give you a refund for any unmailed issues, or they can apply the refund to a subscription to the global edition.

I don’t really know what the difference is between the global edition and the Asia edition (probably not that big), but I was thinking about continuing my subscription anyway, because I like BusinessWeek’s way of reporting. But I need a few more details, such as if there is a difference in pricing between the two editions, and how long delivery would take to China. The letter I received did not say anything about this. Luckily they provided a phone number in Hong Kong (and an email address, but I want an answer right away, so I won’t use that), that I called this morning around 10 AM. But who do I get on the line? An answer machine: “Our offices are open from Monday to Friday, 9 AM to blablabla…”. It is probably a public holiday in Hong Kong, but that is no excuse. In such a situation where all current subscribers get a letter with a phone number in it, you have to make sure someone is answering the phone!

So I decide to go online and find the details there. One of the reasons BusinessWeek is not continuing its overseas editions is because more of its content is available online now. But that sure is not the case for this information, I surfed all over the site, but did not find it. Even worse, I get referred to the same phone number again! Does this magazine take itself seriously? If you are going to tell your customers that you close down an edition, you know that people need more information in order to decide what to do. You have to be prepared, and this magazine surely is not. This is a good way to ensure your customers will not re-subscribe to the global edition.

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  1. hoho, try to email them. That will save time.

    P.S. I already gave up subsribing it this year, though they gave me a discount price, only 6 HKD per issue.


    As a result of global strategic change BusinessWeek will cease to
    publish its European and Asian edition after the January 9/16 2006 issue.

    We are currently experiencing a high volume of email communication and
    would advise that within the next ten days a letter will be forwarded
    to you as a subscriber advising of the options that will be available,
    which you in turn will need to complete and return.

    We will not be processing any new orders and are offering our existing
    international subscribers the option of a full refund for any unmailed
    issues or applying that refund to a subscription to the global edition
    of BusinessWeek magazine. The global edition can be delivered to you by
    email in a digital format or by post at your postal address.

    If you are an existing subscriber and would like a refund to the
    unexpired portion of your subscription you need take no further action. These
    will be processed automatically at the end of January.

    If you would like to explore the option of receiving the global edition
    please either reply to this email quoting your subscriber reference
    number or call our customer service team on +44 (0)845 676 0022.

    Thank you for your patronage.

  3. Hi, very strange the way BW seems to go about its international subscriber base. I subscribed to the European edition a couple of months ago and started to like the magazine. The paper version that is, after experimenting with the web delivered version via Zinio, but that’s not the same experience as touching the paper. Call me old-fashioned if you like.

    Anyway, both international editions are now cancelled. Although I did ring the phone number and ordered the global edition, nothing received yet and now I have received a letter that details the cost as

  4. Hi Alexander, I guess you are right, the international subscriber base is just not interesting enough for them. Delivery time to Shanghai will be about a week for the global edition, and the price here is indeed also about 3 times as much as the original price.

    The Economist is not really an option for me (I used to be a subscriber), it takes me a full day to read it, and I feel guilty to throw it away when I did not finish it. There is just too much information in it.

    I have now decided to drop my BW subscription altogether, and just rely on the news that comes to me in my RSS reader.

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