Just to close this off from my end - my copy of issue 06.2013 arrived this morning, January 7th. Still don't know when they were despatched but seems to have taken a long time to arrive judging by some of the posts.
Suggestion - could the despatch of magazine issues be posted as a news item on the News page of the IPMS website? At least then we would have a clue as to when to start getting concerned about non-arrival.
The magazines were posted a few days before Christmas.
We (IPMS) don't post out the magazine directly. We employ a distribution company to do that. The magazine is sent to print and it then takes 7-10 days for the printer to produce it and send it to the distributor. The distributor then mails it out within 2-3 days of receipt using Royal Mail's bulk distribution system (Mailsort). That - in theory - offers a 7 day delivery, but in practice we know it can take 7-14 days, dependent on where you are in the country and which sorting office your mail goes through (or any other random delay that occurs).
Add to that the limited time available between Scale ModelWorld and Christmas for us to put the magazine together and we're bound to run into the Christmas postal rush which will delay matters even further. The normal production cycle is two months - with the SMW edition we have to squeeze that into less than one month.
We publish the 'copy date' for the next few magazines in each edition. That's the deadline for submissions to the next magazine. If you allow two months from that date, you'll have a good idea of when each magazine should be falling onto your doormat. It's not exact, but gives a fairly accurate guide.
One extra twist on this magazine mailing was that about half of the magazines needed additional handling at the distribution centre to add the 50th Anniversary badges for those who either weren't able to attend SMW or didn't have time to collect their badges at the show. Magazines without badges were posted before Christmas, those with badges were posted after Christmas but before New Year. As John says, actual delivery times vary around the country.
Thanks for the update and additional info John and Colin. My copy didn't need the badge including as I had picked it up at Telford.
I'd also add that I found out yesterday that a fellow IPMS member who lives a few miles away from me got his copy before Christmas. So the only thing I can put it down to is the order in which the copies not requiring badges added where shipped! Probably in batches and numbered in membership order, lowest first would fit the scenario.
OK at least we have some idea when the first of 2014 will be due.
Magazines are normally shipped in one batch from the distributor - they are a commercial company specialising in small-scale distribution and packaging (a 'fulfillment company' to use the industry terminology) so a job like this is a half day effort for them. They will be batched by post code/sorting office code - member name and number don't enter into it.
The quantities aren't viable for an automated process, so the company employs staff on a casual basis to manually 'stuff' the plastic mailing bags (they do many similar small jobs so it's not as ad-hoc as that sounds). Royal Mail then picks it up from the company depot and off it goes into Royal Mail-land. There are so many variables present in the distribution system that it's not unlikely that there are variations in the arrival dates (administrative error, human error etc).
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