The good news first: we’re not raising the price of THE SUN. It’s tempting: our printing costs have doubled; the magazine is probably worth more than $12 a year; we need the money. But we’re not just guided by business sense — does publishing a magazine of ideas make “sense”? — and I want THE SUN to be affordable to many, stretching the heart and the mind but not the pocketbook. After all, part of the THE SUN’s message is that we can live simply, doing work that is personal and social rather than a job that is neither, and that money will come when we’re doing the right thing. Inflated prices have less to do with mysterious economic forces than with unhappiness at the job and at home, a profound confusion about what money can and can’t buy. I don’t want to add to that confusion by making THE SUN expensive.

The not-so-good news is that we’re broke: we still don’t have enough subscribers to break even, and we can’t reduce costs any more. With twice as many readers we’d be able to pay our bills and stop fretting about the long-term survival of THE SUN. But we have no money to find new subscribers — direct-mail is prohibitively expensive and of dubious value, as is advertising, as is every other scheme we’ve tried.

Our readers are our greatest resource. By giving a gift, or a gift subscription, or sharing the magazine with friends, you’re also sharing responsibility for THE SUN’s very existence; you’re our allies, our angels, our friends. You do it for the same reason you water a plant or change a diaper — for free, for love.

Help us in one of three ways:

  1. If you don’t subscribe already, please do. If you already subscribe, and if you know THE SUN is worth more than $12 a year to you, send us a check for the difference. This is a voluntary surcharge of the heart, calculated by invisible tables: you decide.
  2. Introduce one or more friends to THE SUN at a special introductory rate of $7 for six issues (or $12 a year). They may in turn introduce other friends to the magazine.
  3. Send us the names and addresses of friends to whom we can send a free copy of the magazine. This costs you only an eighteen cent stamp.

Dana Reinhold, our assistant editor, just looked over my shoulder and said she was glad this didn’t sound “too desperate.” I told her I already deleted “desperate” and “urgent” from the first paragraph — not because they’re inaccurate but because you don’t have to plead with friends.