General Question

AstroChuck's avatar

Why do magazines do this?

Asked by AstroChuck (37439points) February 4th, 2010 from iPhone

As many of you know, I deliver the US mail. So you can imagine all the periodicals I see everyday. The vast majority of them are dated for the following month (ex: The March 2010 edition of Popular Science will come out sometime this month). What really gets me is as early as October of this year I will begin seeing January 2011 editions of magazines. I have two questions about this. First of all, why does the magazine industry feel the need to distribute their product with dates that are still one, two, or even three months away? Secondly, how can they get away with putting a copyright date that is also in the future? Those same magazines I’m referencing will show up with©2011 printed within. It seems to me I should be able to steal content from a Jan. 2011 edition, hurry up and publish it before the new year, then slap©2010 on it and turn around and sue them for copyright infringement. 
Anyway, what’s the story here?

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14 Answers

phil196662's avatar

In care there is something in the magazine like an activity or a tv show you might want to record at least you have time to set your DVR…

simpleD's avatar

I think it has something to do with distribution – first by mail to subscribers and then to newsstands and bookstores. By the time they get to the store and sit for a while it is closer to the issue date.

lloydbird's avatar

A ”Get the latest!” type thing.
But taken to a ridiculous extreme, perhaps.

liminal's avatar

I believe it is supposed to be the date that stores and stands are supposed to pull it off their shelf. The further out the date the longer the “shelf life.”

Jeruba's avatar

Are you sure about the (c) dates? Copyright year is supposed to reflect the time of actual publication, regardless of the cover date.

AstroChuck's avatar

@Jeruba- 100% positive. I see it all the time. And it’s not just the copyright date for the magazine either. The ads within also have the future copyright date.

ubersiren's avatar

Good question. Don’t car companies do this, too? Their 2011 models will come out in like, September.

dpworkin's avatar

Those are called pull dates, and they reflect the time that the issue is to be replaced at the news stand by the next issue.

SeventhSense's avatar

@AstroChuck
Can you tell me who’s going to win the SuperBowl in 2011?
~Marty McFly

laureth's avatar

I work in the music industry, and we start seeing (c)2010 CDs in 2009. I figure what with how things are printed so far ahead of time, they put that there so by the time it hits the streets, it’s reasonably accurate.

This is similar to the way most Christmas music CDs are not actually recorded in December, but in some other, usually hotter, month. I can’t imagine how they get in the spirit to belt out another “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” in June, but they do.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

I think it’s so people don’t get annoyed that they’re seeing magazines that they subscribe to on the newsstand before they have their copy.

AstroChuck's avatar

@SeventhSense- Sorry. It didn’t say in the last Sports Illustrated.

SeventhSense's avatar

Buff is gonna be mad

loser's avatar

I know they push the dates so the magazine can stay on the rack longer and have a better chance of being sold if not traded out right on time. I’m not sure about the copyright dates, though. Maybe because they have to file them in advance anyway and there’s a waiting period in which they still want to be covered and take advantage of?

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