My grandmother called yesterday. She'd subscribed my two older daughters to a magazine (it has different age levels, so each gets her own). She said she had just wanted to let me know she'd received a renewal notice and she'd be renewing the magazines. I was puzzled at this, because I didn't *think* they'd been getting the magazine for a year already. Thanks to this thread, I knew that magazines try to get you to renew and renew and renew. So I accessed our account online and discovered that we're up for renewal in December, not now. So I was able to tell her that, and she can save her money for six months. I'm contemplating whether I should contact the magazine and tell them that I'm disappointed in them. They might contract out that sort of thing to another company. But, nonetheless, it definitely doesn't give me happy thoughts when thinking of them, and I *do* like the magazine a lot!
These renewal notices may have nothing to do with the publisher of the magazine at all.
Every issue of Harper's has a box warning subscribers against fake renewal notices.
Also, the mailing label on each magazine we receive has the date of the last issue printed on it somewhere.
I manage the magazine subscriptions in our library - somewhere around 120-150 titles. I get to track the expiry dates for all of them. I'd say about two-thirds of the magazines print the expiry date on the label, although it's not very clear on some issues, and I do appreciate seeing that expiry date. (Especially when, instead of renewing our subscription to a specific magazine, they start a new one that runs concurrently with the old one for a few months.
I usually end up contacting the subscription service to get the missing expiry dates so that I can keep my records straight. By the way - if you're ever asked to subscribe to a magazine as a fundraiser, and the supplier is QSP/Reader's Digest, you can be fairly confident that the magazines are reasonably priced, and the QSP customer service reps are very good if you have questions about your subscription later.
The renewal reminders come in spurts, and mostly I open them, pull out the return envelope, and recycle the rest. The envelopes come in handy for other library processes, and I rather enjoy turning a frequent annoyance into a source of office supplies.