These are "Reports from the Newsstand," my comments on the publications in our catalogue at We offer sample copies of our publications, not subscriptions. Each sample copy costs $2.59, well below newsstand cover prices (if the publication is available on your newsstand at all). A $2.00 shipping charge is added to each order. Publishers use to get their publications into the hands of potential subscribers.


Ed Rust, proprietor of, has worked in publishing in a variety of capacities for decades. He started as U.S. circulation director of the Financial Times "way back when they flew the papers into Kennedy Airport from London a day late." He most recently was managing editor of publications at the General Society, Sons of the Revolution.

Friday, April 21, 2006

New Issues in the Newsstand

Today we'll take a quick look at issues of five publications that have come into the newsstand recently: Practical Homeschooling, Lighthouse Digest, The Crapshooter, The Beat and NJ Savvy Living. We'll send you sample copies of any of these titles for just $2.59.

Practical Homeschooling addresses the problems and potentials of schooling children at home from a Christian perspective. One of the featured articles in the April issue is the announcement of winners of the magazine's 2006 Software Awards. The article accompanying the list includes a thoughtful discussion of the evolution of educational software programs. Practical Homeschooling says that a lot of popular programs from what it calls the "golden age" of educational software (1985 to 1998) were produced by small innovative companies. But then the big guys took over, insisting on Hollywood-style production values in their products while at the same time vastly reducing opportunities for creative input from the children for whom the software was designed. Worse, says the article, the big companies effectively pushed the smaller companies off the store shelves and even out of business by making it too expensive for them to compete. Practical Homeschooling hopes the Internet will level the playing field again, noting, "There are no shelf space charges on the Internet."

Lovers of lighthouses delight in
Lighthouse Digest. The April issue takes you to dozens of landmarks, such as Canada's Point Abino Lighthouse, a classic built in 1917 on the northeast shore of Lake Erie, and the Cape Santiago Lighthouse on the approach to Manila Bay in the Philippines, built in 1890. I loved a classic photo of the very cozy Elbow of Cross Ledge Lighthouse, which stood in Delaware Bay off the coast of New Jersey until a freighter crashed into it in a 1953 fog, leading to its demolition. In the issue you'll also find the winners of the magazine's annual photo contest.

The Crapshooter is a little four-page newsletter with a wealth of information for folks who take their gambling seriously. I've been looking through a recent issue in which publisher Larry Edell takes you through the complexities of the odds at the craps table, and comes up with a fairly easy way to always calculate the true odds in just about any situation. Gaming author Frank Scoblete says the right preparation is crucial to approaching the table for a winning session: you must master the necessary skills and have confidence in those skills. He notes that "many shooters practice meditation to center themselves within."

Reggae, African, Caribbean and World music are the province of
The Beat, published five times a year by Bongo Productions in Los Angeles. In the issue that's recently come into the newsstand, columnist Dave Hucker from London describes all the music he heard on a recent trip to Cuba, which of course is pretty much off limits to Americans by fiat of the current crop of freedom-lovers in Washington. You'll find a big feature on The Mighty Diamonds, a reggae trio from the impoverished Trench Town district of Kingston, Jamaica who have been making music for 37 years. Another article discusses the great popularity of reggae in New Zealand. Martin Sinnock writes about Congotronics, an album by Konono No. 1, a raucous street band from Kinshasa in the Congo that uses homemade instruments.

Back on my home turf, the April issue of
NJ Savvy Living tells its readers the secrets to getting their kids into the best prep schools. The other big topic of discussion in New Jersey these days is the real estate market, and the magazine asks the local experts whether it's a bubble about to burst―after all, house prices have risen 76% since 2000! No, they say, it's just a slowdown, particularly at the high end. The tag line on the cover of NJ Savvy Living is "Affluent Lifestyles," and that's what you'll find described and photographed in its pages: elegant kitchens, luxurious "outdoor rooms" and bathrooms the size of my old Manhattan rent-controlled apartment.


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