Welcome to another issue of PLN. As you will have noticed, PLN has a new look. We are trying out this new, expanded format because we had pretty much exhausted the newsletter format and had a backlog of material. This new magazine format costs us about the same as photocopying for the first thousand copies but we can now print 16 pages a month with no problem. It also lessens the work for our volunteers as there is less folding or stapling involved.
The drawback is that this has doubled our printing costs compared to what we had been spending due to the extra pages. Because there is a minimum print run of 1,000 copies and we only have about 650 US subscribers, we have quite a few excess copies left over. That's the bad news, the good news is that once we go over a thousand copies the printing gets a lot cheaper and we can start saving money on printing costs. We will be disposing of the excess copies by sending them out as samples to potential subscribers.
We also ask that you, our readers, encourage any friends, family members or other interested parties to subscribe to PLN. Anyone interested in buying bulk copies of PLN for distribution at events, bookstores, etc., please contact Ed or myself to work out the details. Encourage your local library (in prison or out) to subscribe at our institutional rate. We need paying subscribers that can cover their subscription costs to continue printing in this magazine format. Until now PLN has been limited by its format into not being able to print lengthier articles or even everything that we would have liked. Over the years we had to make decisions not to print a lot of good material due to a lack of space because we prioritized other materials or it was too big. It would be a shame if we couldn't afford this new format and had to go back to our photocopied format.
I want to emphasize to you that all of your donations go towards producing, printing and mailing PLN. The more money we have the more we can afford to do and this will be reflected in the product you get to read. Readers that have been with us a while will remember that when we started PLN was a hand typed 10 page newsletter. It's taken us three years to get to this point as we've gone slow and not overextended ourselves. Through this period we've always gone forward and want to continue doing so. We need your ongoing support to keep publishing. As always, we welcome comments and suggestions from our readers.
Recently we have had some problems getting PLN delivered to our subscribers at the Pelican Bay State Prison in California. Copies of PLN were returned to us as "undeliverable" because they did not have the subscribers' cell number on the address. We usually don't put prisoners' cell numbers on the mailing label due to the frequency of cell moves within prisons. In some cases the labels did have the cell number and all have the prisoners' DOC number. I wrote to the warden, Charles Marshall, to complain about this and his reply was, to say the least, interesting. First, he started out by claiming 300 to 500 copies of PLN were delivered to Pelican Bay each month requiring "6 hours of staff time" to put cell numbers on. According to our mailing list we only have about 36 subscribers at Pelican Bay, so who knows where the other 460 copies are coming from. To resolve this problem we sent Marshall a listing of our Pelican Bay readers and asked that he return it with their cell numbers and we would add them to our mailing list. This is the only prison in the US we are having this problem at. We have a few readers at most California prisons and only at Pelican Bay has this been an issue.
While I'm on the subject of Pelican Bay, of the 36 subscribers there, only 3 are covering the cost of their subscriptions. We understand that those readers in the SHU have a real problem getting money to donate for PLN, but if you can borrow someone's copy please don't ask for a free subscription. If you're in the SHU or getting a free subscription to PLN, ask friends or family on the outside to donate to us on your behalf. Our continued existence, especially as a magazine, will depend on your support.
On a closing note, prison artists interested in contributing artwork for our 1994 prisoners calendar should get with us as soon as possible. September is the printer deadline for this. We need prison related art (please, no clenched fists through the bars!) that's in black and white in a landscape (horizontal 11 by 8 1/2) format. Please contact Ed or myself if you're interested in participating. Enjoy this issue of PLN and pass it along to others when you're done with it. As always we encourage articles and submissions from you, our readers, so keep them coming.
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