Federation of American Aquarium Societies Federation of American Aquarium Societies Federation of American Aquarium Societies

How much should you charge for ads in your Publication?

Rick Borstein, FAAS President

Your publication is your not-so-secret weapon in working with local fish stores (LFS).
An ad from a local pet store with a coupon could generate a lot of business for them.

Should you charge for ads?

Some clubs do not charge for ads.  Ads are often a way to generate good will with local pet stores. In exchange for running the ad, the club receives the ability to place marketing materials in the store.

Larger clubs with more expensive publications may charge for ads. Some societies accept product donations in lieu of cash. The product donation could be raffled off or auctioned to generate revenue for the club.

How much does an ad cost you?

Whether you charge for ads or not, it’s a good idea to understand your ad costs.
Here's a hypothetical example:
Each issue costs about $200 to print
Each issue costs $300 to mail
Each issue has 24 pages
You have 6 issues of a pub a year.
You offer full-page, half-page and quarter page rates




Cost of Printing and Mailing

$200 Printing
$ 300 Mailing


Cost per Page

$500 Print/Mail Costs
24 pages


Full Page Cost/Year

6 issues


Half Page Cost/Year



Quarter Page Cost/Year



How much should you charge?

Pricing—as one of my business school professors once said—and I quote—is a “wild ass guess”.
Unless your club is rolling in dough, you need to charge at least enough to cover your cost.
I suggest marking up your cost by 30-50%. There is work involved in obtaining the ad, putting copy together, getting it approved and so on. Ads give more work to your publication editor.
Product donations should be equal to at least twice your posted ad price per year. It is difficult to raffle or auction an item and get anywhere near retail price.