High Tech Helps Hold Down Magazine Costs
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“High Tech Helps Hold Down Magazine Costs,” Ensign, Aug. 1989, 79

High Tech Helps Hold Down Magazine Costs

As your Church magazines came in the mail recently, you probably couldn’t help noticing the part that major technological advancements are playing in magazine production.

Unless you live in the British Isles, Australia, or New Zealand, your magazines probably came in a polywrap plastic bag, with the address printed directly on the back cover of one of them.

If you live in the British Isles, Australia, or New Zealand, you are or soon will be receiving your magazines earlier because your address is now part of a computer data bank maintained in your own country.

Advances in technology are not only helping to bring Church magazines to your home sooner, they are helping to keep production costs—and thus magazine subscription prices—down.

The unique polywrap-bagging machine now in use at the Salt Lake Printing Center was specially designed for the Church’s magazine production operations. It helps cut costs by grouping the magazines that come to your home. Directed by a tape produced by another computer, the computerized polywrap-bagger sorts copies into your personal shipment according to whether you subscribe to one, two, or three of the Church magazines. Then an ink-jet printer prints your address on the back of the last magazine in your stack.

The machine heat-seals your stack of magazines into its individual polywrap pouch and binds the pouch into a bundle sorted for your United States or Canadian Zip or postal code. Some bundles are even sorted for your individual mail carrier’s route. (Canadian readers’ magazines are sent by truck to western Canada and put into the national mail system to speed delivery.)

The polywrap bag protects the magazines, and the ink-jet printing is much cheaper than the old process of printing, cutting, and gluing individual paper labels for each magazine. In their plastic pouch, two or three magazines go into the mail as one “piece,” thus cutting postage costs.

Church magazines going to Australia, New Zealand, and the British Isles are sent via air freight, not by mail. Computerized subscription records are now maintained in each of these three countries, and address labels generated by the computer are pasted on individual magazines. These are then sent through the national mail system, so the magazines arrive at your home much faster.

Computerization of subscription records in the British Isles, Australia, and New Zealand also makes it possible for local magazine representatives to handle subscription campaigns and to respond to individual readers’ needs more efficiently.

Magazines are heat-sealed into polywrap pouches (inset). (Photos by Philip S. Shurtleff.)