A combination of reasons has led me to make this decision. First, there is the stress factor. This has always been a one-person enterprise, so I was never able to delegate the editorial duties to others when I was ill or needed to be attending to other matters. I have a chronic illness, which isn't life-threatening but can at times be debilitating, and the recurrences seemed to have an insidious way of happening when I was facing a publishing deadline. As I write this, I am experiencing one of those recurrences, so I am working in my office when I really shouldn't be, but a publishing deadline is near, so what can I do? I have long suspected that the stress of the deadlines aggravates the condition.
TSR began in 1990 with no subscribers and grew at one time to have almost 1800. This resulted in a volume of correspondence that was unmanageable, and it bothered me that I could not answer all the letters I received. This no doubt contributed to the stress factor. As a partial solution to this problem, I added the "Mailbag" column so that I could answer at least some of the letters while I was working on copy for the next edition. As Everette Hatcher's tedious articles on the book of Daniel dragged on, the subscriptions dropped dramatically, and I was confronted with the problem of allowing him to continue or stopping a series of articles that subscribers were obviously fed up with. When I finally announced that enough was enough and that I would publish no more articles from him that just quoted what fundamentalist "scholars" think, the subscriptions began to rebound noticeably. I have no doubt that subscription losses would have eventually recovered completely if I continued publication, but to tell the truth, I was halfway afraid that they would, because this would have brought more correspondence to answer.
With the switch to an electronic format on the internet, TSR will no longer be a one-person operation. I will have the assistance of interested parties who have the expertise to set up and maintain websites. There will no longer be any publishing deadlines, because there won't be January/February or March/ April issues. Articles will be posted as they are completed, so it is entirely possible that readers will have access to even more material on biblical errancy. Furthermore, everything will be free, so there will be no more subscription renewals to bother with.
"Old fogies" like me won't like an electronic format, because we prefer to read from copies printed on paper, but we will just have to make the adjustment. Some readers, of course, don't even have computers, but the price of a computer that can access the internet won't be much more than the cost of a television set. I can assure you that if you buy a computer, you will (1) experience frustration learning how to use it but (2) will be happy with the whole new world that opens up to you after you have become familiar with it. One of the biggest mistakes I ever made was delaying for about 10 years putting my computer on line. If I now had to choose between a computer and a television set, it would be no contest. The computer would win hands down.
Stopping publication of TSR will cause a subscription refund problem, because some have sent multiple-year subscriptions. For several years, I have asked that this not be done, and many who sent multiple renewals told me to consider the excesses a contribution if I should stop publication. The problem is that record keeping was always a drain on my time, so since the address-label program I used didn't have a window to note who was considering the overpayments contributions, I now have no way of knowing who all of these subscribers/contributors are. The only way I can solve this problem is to refund overpayments of those who request it.
Those whose subscriptions expire with this or any of the
remaining issues for this year may renew by sending $1 for each issue
left to be published. I hope subscribers will consider this not the end
of TSR but the beginning of a new version that will have a much
larger potential audience.