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This letter went out today to all PAM subscribers for whom we had email 
addresses and who were owed one or more issues yet remaining on their 
subscriptions.  It is posted here assuming it will be of some general interest.

December 1, 2001 Fax: 415-731-7797

Dear PAM Subscriber:

Back in 1999 when I started work on Planted Aquaria magazine, I
believed there were about 3000 planted aquarists in the US and that
PAM could gain 1500 as subscribers at $20 per year each. That and
$15,000 in advertising revenue would make up the PAM annual budget and
the magazine would break even.
The circulations of PAM 1 and successors were about 225, 400, 500,
600, 550, 525, 500, 480 respectively. And as of mid-November, 2001
only about 330 PAM subscribers remain.
I had thought a technical plant magazine would be popular, even if
it were tough to read; I was wrong. Of 1600 readers of Aquatic Plant
Digest, less than 300 are PAM subscribers. Of 900 AGA members, only
about 100 are PAM subscribers. The message is clear: this magazine
did not attract a sufficient audience to support it.
PAM was priced low so as to keep the cost from being a barrier to
readers. That meant a very tight budget, and even that can't be met,
not even close. For PAM to break even at its present readership, it
would cost $15 per copy. That is unreasonable.
PAM could be published on the web, but the print bill is only
about a third of the cost of producing PAM. So the high cost problem
would continue and there would be no obvious source of income. I
offered to give PAM to several major players in our hobby but none
felt it was up to the task of publishing it.
Even though a few hundred people love PAM (including you and me),
the fan base is insufficient to support the publication. PAM has been
a scientific success and a popular failure. As a result, PAM 8
(Winter 2001) will be the last issue.
You are holding this letter because you have paid for more PAM
issues than you have received till now. The Aquatic Gardeners
Association has generously offered 3 months of AGA membership for each
issue you are due. The AGA will also take over back issue sales
effective January 1, 2002. If you want any back issues in place of
future ones you are owed (except issue #2 which is gone), please let
me know well before then.
I am sorry for this turn of events, but hope that someday our
hobby will have grown to the point where 15% of the hobbyists will be
enough to support a specialized magazine. Till then,
Sincerely,   Dave Gomberg

Dave Gomberg, San Francisco       gomberg at wcf dot com
http://www.wcf.com/co2iron for low cost CO2 systems that work!