There have been lots of rumors going around concerning 2600 and the financial problems that have hit us pretty hard. It's time we set things straight once and for all. These are the facts: We've been put in a very difficult position by our biggest distributor, Fine Print of Austin, Texas. Over the years they helped get our magazine into some very large chains which increased our circulation as well as our costs. Naturally, we expected to cover the expense with our sales, which we did.
At least in theory. Unbeknownst to us, people at Fine Print were embezzling money and otherwise mismanaging their business, screwing small publishers out of their hard-earned money. Shortly after we became aware of the problems, Fine Print declared bankruptcy while owing us nearly $100,000 - money that was needed to print at least three issues. Since early 1997 we've been trying to deal with this situation and it's become increasingly difficult due to a number of things. Under court order, we can't do a thing about the money that's owed us. Almost nobody expects us to ever see a penny of it. Because it takes more than half a year to get paid for an issue, we were forced to continue doing business with the "new" Fine Print, who made arrangements to pay us in advance so we would stick with them. That worked for a few months until they once again stopped paying us.
This, combined with another misfortune - losing more than $10,000 at Beyond Hope thanks to last minute greed from the building management and the network provider, was enough to nearly do us in. We were advised to file for bankruptcy protection ourselves. And on paper that may have looked like the right thing to do. But 2600 has never been a typical business. And one thing we don't want to do is screw over other people just because we got screwed over. So, no matter what, we're going to pull through this even though we will have to get by for a while with virtually no income. It's just another challenge. We have to ask for your patience during this transition period. Our issues will be late - in fact, the Autumn issue will be known as Number Three since anything with "Autumn" on the cover would be taken off store shelves in the winter, which is when the Autumn issue will be out.
We will tighten up our schedule so that we will get the issues back on track but this will take some time. We are not asking for money because we don't want to be thought of as a charity. We can get through this, and we will. What would help us out quite a bit would be people ordering things that we've already paid for and that we have in stock - t-shirts, back issues, cd-roms, videos, etc. Look in the merchandise section of this site for particulars. We have every intention of getting through this thing and getting better at the same time. We're moving ahead with plans to improve our website even though we don't have a penny to spend on it. It's called hacker spirit. If we can spend endless hours playing with computers and phone systems with absolutely no payoff whatsoever, we can pull this off too. For the record, we bear no animosity towards the people at Fine Print, at least not the ones who are there right now.
They inherited a very bad situation and we hope they're able to fix it in the months and years ahead. Unfortunately the publishing industry puts publishers at a tremendous disadvantage - ironic but true. But without distributors, there would be no way for us to get out there at all. We're not the only ones affected by these circumstances. Other zines have been crippled, some have gone under. This is a great loss to us all. But by supporting zines, and alternative ideas, we will be taking an important step in the recovery process.