Last year 74 percent of our readers resubscribed to American Heritage. Such a phenomenal renewal rate justifies our feeling that the audience for this magazine consists not merely of customers but of friends. Our readers frequently tell us that they and their families and neighbors consider themselves part of a community (Standard English) or network (New Style), all sharing an appetite for the story of how Americans came to be where and what and how they are. It is a taste that enhances their lives by helping them to make sense of the seeming chaos of this fast-forward century.
Readers of American Heritage turn to history in the same way that the directors of television sports programs turn to the replay mode: it lets you take it all in again, the better … to take it all in.
In case you missed it, the past two years have been filled with action and event at American Heritage. The most prestigious organization in our field, the American Society of Magazine Editors, nominated us for four awards: twice for General Excellence, once each for best Single-topic Issue and for best Design. To our delight, we won in the General Excellence category and for our special issue on American Medicine.
Another gratifying honor came with the publication of A Sense of History , an anthology of the best writing from the pages of the magazine. This 832-page volume was chosen last December by the Book-of-the-Month Club as its main selection. Never before had the Club offered a selection of articles and essays from a single magazine as its premier title. For us, it meant that the little secret we have long shared with our readers about the wonders of history was finally getting out.
It has been getting out in other ways too. From a circulation base of 100,000 in 1982, we are now well past the 150,000 mark and expect to reach 200,000 by the end of 1986. We’ll be soliciting millions of prospective subscribers by mail this year and reaching millions more through our television commercials. This should substantially augment the word-of-mouth efforts by the veteran subscribers who have always been at the core of our enterprise.
Finally, about six months ago, Malcolm S. Forbes and his family, publishers of the business magazine that is their namesake, decided they wanted to be more than just old, admiring subscribers to American Heritage. So they bought us—flintlock, stock, and barrel. The new owners have only one goal—to maintain the quality and health of this publication while enlarging significantly the circle of its readers. With the Forbeses’ passion for the American story and their vast experience in getting the word out, don’t be surprised if, in the near future, you find yourself running into more sharers of the American Heritage secret. As you may imagine, that’s just fine with us. We treasure all the friends we can get and hope to renew their friendship for many years to come.