A LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER
It's no secret that the U.S. Atari market isn't as healthy as it could be. The 8-bit computer line has declined in popularity, while the ST, though it has gained a respectable following in Europe, has yet to find its niche in the states. For these reasons, most software companies won't develop products for the Atari systems.
This lack of software support has a subtle, but nonetheless powerful impact on magazines that rely on the Atari market for their well-being. The cold fact is that advertisers for the 8-bit products are nearly nonexistent, and there are precious few advertisers for ST products.
Since, for profitable publications, we depend to a great extent upon advertising, we are left with two choices if our publications are to continue: We can increase the price of our magazines, thus forcing readers to pick up the tab for the lack of advertising, or we can find a way to make the magazines less expensive to produce. We've opted for the latter.
There are, of course, many ways we can cut the magazines' publishing costs: We can reduce the page count. We can get rid of the color. We can pay contributors less. Unfortunately, none of these options, nor others, not mentioned here, makes much of a difference in the long run.
After much thought, we decided that although the Atari market is not capable of supporting two Atari-specific magazines from a single publisher, it is active enough to support one. So we're going to combine ANALOG Computing and ST-LOG into a single monthly publication.
Don't panic! When you think about it, the merging of the magazines will allow us to produce a much nicer publication. And since the single magazine will be larger than either of the individual ones, we won't have to cut much from our content. In fact, after doing some analysis, we've discovered that we will be able to offer the same columns, departments and types of features you've come to expect. Little will change, except that everything will come to you under a single cover.
The November issue will be the first combination magazine. Next month we'll give you more details on what the new publication will be like, as well as our plans for the future. (We plan some nice surprises, like a reduction in the cost of magazine disks.)
We believe that merging ANALOG Computing and ST-LOG is the best solution to a tough problem. It allows us to continue publication while giving you your full money's worth. It also gives Atari a chance to prove their claim that in the coming year they will emerge a strong presence in the U.S. When that time comes, we plan to reevaluate the situation and possibly separate the publications once again.
Recently, Atari supporters have had to stick together like never before. We've been there, providing support and information for nearly nine years. And we plan to be there for many more.
Here's to the future!
Lee H. Pappas