What Do SQL Server Magazine Readers Want?

In May 2008, we ran two Instant Polls on the Sqlmag.com home page to get some feedback from readers on whether they’d pay more for a larger SQL Server Magazine and whether they’d prefer fewer, longer articles or more, shorter articles in the print version of the magazine. Although the polls didn’t get enough responses to make them anything more than an interesting sampling of reader opinion, they give us some idea of the kind of magazine you’d like us to provide.

First, we put this question to readers: “Would you pay more for a 64-page SQL Server Magazine (current length is typically 48 pages)?” Out of 61 responses,
just over half—52 percent—answered “No, the content isn’t worth an increase in price.” But slightly less than half—47 percent—said they would pay some amount more for a SQL Server Magazine with more pages. (Percentages don’t add up to 100 because our polling tool rounded them off.) You can see the complete poll results here.

We posted a follow-up poll asking readers whether they’d prefer a magazine version with fewer articles containing more content (e.g., text, code, figures) or one with more articles that are shorter, with more links to additional content on the Sqlmag.com Web site. In this poll, which had fewer responses than the previous one, 63 percent of readers said they’d prefer fewer articles. This result syncs with comments some of the other editors and I have heard from SQL Server Magazine readers, who tell us they like having all the content in print and would rather not have to go back and forth between magazine and Web site to read an article.

So what’s the outcome of these surveys for you, the reader? First, although we aren’t planning to increase the subscription price for SQL Server Magazine anytime soon, it’s good to get some idea of what our readers think about the current rate and whether they find the magazine’s content valuable. Second, we’re making an effort to include all relevant code, figures, and other elements in SQL Mag articles. We want to provide as much content as possible in the print issues because we know many of you like having all the content handy in one magazine. Still, we want our readers to discover the wealth of information on Sqlmag.com, including our print article archives as well as the thousands of Web-exclusive articles that are available only online. Judging from the growing number of reader comments I’ve seen on Sqlmag.com articles, I’d say that SQL Mag readers are getting active online, too.

—Anne Grubb, Web site strategic editor, SQL Server Magazine

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