The Business End of the Magazine

By Kollengode S. and Prema Venkataraman

Printing and mailing the magazine for free was possible because of two reasons: First, we had full-time jobs that gave us a professional middle-class lifestyle. With this, we could divert the bulk of our spare time to the magazine. When people ask us how we do this with our full-time jobs, we have often replied them with a different question, “More than ‘How do we do it?’ we have been wondering ‘Why do we do this?’” 

Honestly, when we asked the same question ourselves, particularly while in the middle of a cash crunch to pay the bills, we never got an answer that made any economic sense. But then, as Christ says in the New Testament, “Man does not live by bread alone.”

The second reason is more important. To retain our editorial independence, The Patrika deliberately has not sought financial or other kinds of support from any social, cultural, political, religious, corporate, or government entities. However, in the Free Market World, any business activity has a reason to exist only if it can stand on its own legs to pay all the bills.  The Patrika owes a very big Thank You to all our advertisers — many of them repeat advertisers from Mainstream America and a few Indian businesses here as well.  Our advertisers  are the only reason the magazine has survived for twenty-five years. We acknowledge their support and trust in our integrity.

Without subscriptions, advertisements were the only source for us to meet the expenses — around $5,000 to $6,000 for each issue. These include the bare-bone expenses for a) printing and mailing the magazine; b) software updates essential for the magazine layout, address correction, and bulk mailing; and c) office supplies and incidentals and travel.  

We also spend lots of time working with writers revising and finalizing stories, copyediting & proofreading the articles; and then on the layout of each issue sequencing the articles and advertisements.   

As the lead article details, the Coronavirus stunned the finances for the magazine with advertisements vanishing in one stroke.

Thousands of businesses have shut down with tens of millions losing their jobs, and investors losing trillions of dollars. The hospitality and education industries — our mainstay among advertisers — were the worst hit.

It will take a long time for “normalcy” to return even after the pandemic is brought under control. Our life and lifestyle and work environments have already changed. And for sure, the new “normal,” when it returns, will be quite different from the one we left behind. The way we live and work; our ideas of what we mean by “success and wealth,” society, neighborhood, leisure and entertainment, travel and vacation, all will be quite different, hopefully for the better.

So, that is why an honest financial reckoning for the magazine became necessary. And that is why The Patrika seeks voluntary contributions of $20 or more from readers. We hope this is a temporary measure.  Please remember, we have been mailing this magazine for free for 25 years, or 100 issues! If and when the economy recovers, we will definitely revisit this situation. Please note that your contribution is NOT tax-deductible since the magazine is not a tax-exempt enterprise. 

You can make your volunteer subscription at this Gofundme site.

Or you can mail your check payable to:

The Pittsburgh Patrika, Inc. 4006 Holiday Park Dr., Murrysville, PA 15668.          



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