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The South Dakota Magazine office is alight with Christmas cheer.
The South Dakota Magazine office is alight with Christmas cheer.

Why We Print 50,000 Magazines

Dec 22, 2011

The Christmas season is glorious for many reasons. It's heart-warming to see how our fellow South Dakotans respond to needs at food pantries, community holiday feasts, toy collections and other such projects.

South Dakota Magazine also benefits from the generosity of our people. When we started the magazine on a shoestring 27 years ago, we stumbled along through a slow year. We went door-to-door to sell enough subscriptions to qualify for a second class mailing permit from the post office.

I had a few cows in those days, and I was wondering, as winter approached, which one to sell to pay the next printing bill. I was figuring on the fat one that ate the most hay.

Then came Thanksgiving, and somebody walked in the office door and asked if he could buy a subscription for his brother in Iowa. I was busy with something else, but I politely said I couldn't think of any law against it. Silently, I was thinking that this would be a little extra work for me. Then he asked if we had any kind of gift card to give his brother. We didn't.

A few days later, a nice lady came in and bought subscriptions for all her children. "I want to make them homesick for South Dakota," she said.

Soon other folks started to interrupt our work by calling on the telephone and ordering subscriptions. We soon coined an original phrase — "gift subscriptions" — and we even printed some cheap little postcards to send to the recipients.

The fat cow got to stay on the farm. The printer was paid in full by New Year's Day. And those pesky gift subscriptions are a big reason why South Dakota Magazine is now the biggest statewide magazine on the Northern Plains.

This year we have been busy processing gift subscriptions for weeks. Our press run for the Jan/Feb issue is 50,050 — a new high. And we owe it all — not to udders, as the late Richard Kneip liked to jest about people in the cow business — but to you, our loyal readers who continue to help us find new readers.

Merry Christmas to each and every one.

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