Tuesday, February 28, 2012

YES and KNOW kids' science magazines
closed suddenly

January 2012
[This post has been updated]The sudden closure of YES, a science magazine for youths 7 to 14  and KNOW a science magazine for kids 6 to 9, published by Peter Piper Publishing Inc. of Victoria, B.C., may be an object lesson for small publishers.YES started in 1996; KNOW six years ago.
In August, 2009, the Mad Science Group, based in Montreal, bought out Peter Piper Publishing, owned by David Garrison and his wife Shannon Hunt. The intention had been to seek investment in the magazines and the fit seemed good, including promoting the titles to the many franchises and customers for Mad Science's in-school and after-school science programs around the world. 
The Garrisons continued to work for the magazine but the support and promotion they had expected didn't happen and circulation began to slip.
March/April 2004
According to the company's website, Mad Science was started by two brothers, Ariel and Ron Shlien in 1986 in Montreal. At first running its own program, later it began francishing the concept and, by 2000, had 86 franchises operating around the world and had opened offices in Toronto and Miami. Among its many activities were partnering with the publisher Scholastic in creating a series of 12 books under the Mad Science brand, selling more than 1 million copies. It ran kids' science programs aboard Royal Caribbean cruise ships.
In other words, the Garrisons had every reason to believe their magazines were going to get the investment and the attention that they hoped for.
Suddenly, on January 26, Mad Science telephoned, told the magazine to cease immediately and not to talk to vendors, suppliers or customers. Six employees lost their jobs.  At the time, YES had about 13,000 subscribers, KNOW about 12,000. The websites were closed down and a simple message displayed:  
"Due to current market conditions of the publishing industry combined with the decline in subscriptions, it became extremely challenging to maintain the operations of the magazine. We sincerely regret any inconvenience this may cause."  
There was no indication of the status of existing subscriptions. [UPDATE: Mad Science was asked for a statement, but essentially reiterated the sentence above.]
While they were forbidden to tell anyone about the closure (and given virtually no time to find other investors or a viable alternative), Hunt did write a poignant farewell e-mail to their regular contributors, saying (in part):
It's been a draining week, helping Dave and Sue pack up 16 years worth of my life. So many magazines...so many memories...starting so hopefully with a single computer in a corner of my parents' living room, wondering if it was really possible for two people to make a magazine, trying to proofread pages with a baby sleeping on my chest, making the big move to a real office after years of working in our basement.

It's been challenging -- never quite being able to take the magazines from surviving to thriving -- but I'm not sorry we tried. We made some great magazines together. Thank you all for the articles, the art, the photos, the poems. We've enjoyed working with you all, such a talented group of people. I will miss reading your articles, poring over your illustrations.

Dave and I will soon be back in a corner of a living room, wondering what to do next, but one thing is for sure, we will be wishing you well, watching for your names in print and on the net, and who knows, maybe we will be lucky enough to bump into you again one day. After all, anything's possible, right?
The general tone of bewilderment and anger carried over in various blog postings by writer and former KNOW editor Adrienne Mason and illustrator Glen Mullaly.



Anonymous Deb Morrison said...

So sorry to hear of this loss to the Canadian children's magazine publishing community. David Garrison and Shannon Hunt are to be commended for their significant contribution to the industry and to the lives of so many young readers and their families over the years.

11:40 am  
Blogger Wrath Of Mom said...

Thanks for this post. I noticed too late that the magazine subscription I was giving as a gift had not shown up. I'm really furious that the Mad Science Group was taking subscription money right up until the last day. It's unethical, in my opinion.

12:11 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We received one magazine out of our one year gift subscription. Mad Science took people's money knowing they were going to shut down the publication. As far as I am concerned, this is stealing. Mad Science will never get any of my business and I will be sure to spread the word to all my friends.

1:44 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd bought my daughter a two-year subscription to Know at Christmas with a few back issues under the tree. She was excited when it arrived in January and has eagerly anticipated the never to arrive next edition.

I understand it is normal practice in the case of a publication's closure to deliver an appropriate substitute until the subscriptions run out... We never heard anything from Mad Science about the closure and I feel my daughter has been cheated out of her Christmas present.

To those who produced Know and Yes magazines, thank you for the joy and learning you gave my daughter. To Mad Science -- no birthday parties with you -- as I doubt I'll be giving you my money again.

4:04 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I renewed for my granddaughter, late 2011 and subscribed for my grandson at the same time - just found out they haven't been receiving them and find out the situation via the internet today. I'm out $90.00. Are we going to get our money back someday?


12:38 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am ------- pisted to know I paid money for and gave a gift to a child who will not recieve anything. we could have been given notice, I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER MAGAZINE FROM READERS DIGEST OR ANYTHING ELSE.

9:27 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I am only now clueing in as we realised that it had been some time since we had received an issue. I have been giving the magazines as gifts for over 6 years- this year I got a 2 year subscription for every kid on my list (a lot, and a big expense for a mom who is earning a pittance running a home day care...). Needless to say I am very frustrated by this!

2:46 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a order already going with them for my nephew. He is only 8. He just tolded me he was not getting his magazine. Where and who do I contact for a new order or refund.

1:47 pm  
Anonymous Hensen Family, Brampton ON said...

My sons have been subscribing to the KNOW magazine for a few years - entering poetry and artwork for the various themes. They had their works published several times and received such joy with each publication. Such an incredible loss for everyone - we were so excited that the magazine was Canadian - the content was incredible, and we always encouraged others to read it. Thank you to the Garrison and Hunt for the amazing magazine they created.
We are most upset at the lack of professionalism and honour of the Mad Science Group. We received no notification of the cancellation of the magazine, and of course were one among many subscription subscribers that lost their money.

5:08 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't even know that one, it was truly Canadian and two, that it was started and run by just two people. If I had known I would've bought subscriptions for sure. This is the kind of info that should be out there so that people know what's behind the magazine. Hopefully they'll start another one.

7:28 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who takes your money delivers one magazine and then doesn't bother to let you know they are defunct. They should have to refund our money. Any class action lawsuits being brought up against them?

8:55 pm  
Anonymous amodra said...

I just found out that my granddaughter only received one issue of the magazine. I guess I am out the full subscription price! Is there any update on this blog - it is now Sept. 2012.

4:43 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am disgusted that this magazine has taken peoples money and then failed to deliver on the subscriptions. My son received one issue then not a word from the company regarding closure. I am disappointed and disgusted that the company could pile up their cash from innocent people and close up with not a word or refund to anyone. Terrible. Will never get another subscription ever!!!

7:53 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just found out that my grandson had not been receiving his annual subscription. He has received 1 magazine and nothing more. The Company obviously knew well that they were going down the tubes so scooped as much new subscription money as possible in the Christmas season then pulled the pin .............crooked bunch of bastards!!!! What goes around will come around you'll get yours someday!!!

11:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No wonder my change of address e-mail was bounced back to me. I think my nephew got only one magazine out of a two-year subscription. Too bad, because he really thought the magazine was good.

4:23 pm  
Anonymous G.Ma said...

Send a polite letter via email to Mad Science (legal@madscience.org) subject line: Attention Ariel and Ron Shlien. Include all your subscription info. They will send a refund .... on your original credit card or via a cheque, minus the value of the one magazine received. It worked for me.

11:51 am  
Anonymous Lynn K said...

Went looking to renew a subscription for my niece and nephew. Was saddened to see that the magazine had closed. As a B.C. Special Needs Teacher I thought the magazines were fantastic. One of my best memories, of a visit with my 7 year old nephew, was sitting and reading all the back issues he had. As we each read our own issue he would lean over and point out the hidden creature in the margin or picture and explain to me I had to watch for them. Thank you Yes and Know for the delight and joy

1:44 pm  
Blogger Esther Paris said...

My children enjoyed these magazines greatly. Their subscriptions were a gift from their aunt. It's truly a pity that the magazines are gone. sigh

3:32 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

I too paid for a gift sub to run for 2012 and 2013 and received nothing. Really want to thank G.Ma for providing the refund info (Mad Science (legal@madscience.org) subject line: Attention Ariel and Ron Shlien) most helpful. Will try to get my money back but it's Nov 2012 now.

2:44 pm  
Anonymous The Legal Department of Peter Piper Publishing Inc. said...

Please be advised that Peter Piper Publishing Inc. ceased operations in February 2012. As of December 1, 2012, Peter Piper Publishing Inc. is no longer in a position to issue refunds. We thank you for your past patronage and support and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.

3:48 pm  
Anonymous donna Richardson said...

I am angry as I ordered two subscriptions last Cmas 2011 and I thought my grandchildren in Toronto were receiving the magazines. I had no idea that they did not get the magazines and that I was not notified of the closure of the company. It is wrong to take people's money for a subscription and then not fulfill a promise. Everyone who paid for subscriptions should be reimbursed!!!!Donna Richardson Hawkesbury Ontario Dec 7th 2012

10:59 am  

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