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Feb. 29, 2024, 1:01 p.m.
LINK:  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   February 29, 2024

Subscribing to The New Yorker in print comes with a known risk factor: the likelihood that the issues will slowly pile up on your side table, unread — a stack of paper taunting you for your lack of intellectual dedication.

You know a publication that’s never had that problem? The French satirical newspaper La Bougie du Sapeur, founded in 1980. That’s because it only publishes an issue once every four years, on February 29. That being today’s date, Issue 12 has just hit Parisian newsstands.

I’d link to the newspaper’s website, but it doesn’t have one. (If it did, though, I’m sure it would have a much higher metabolism — maybe posting every 18 months or so.) When February 29 falls on a Sunday, La Bougie du Sapeur also publishes a special Sunday supplement; the first came out in 2004, with the next scheduled for 2032. Today’s top story: the rise of artificial intelligence. Can’t wait for Part 2!

Editor Jean d’Indy describes the content as “French humor, and it does not translate into other languages. We try to be silly but not nasty. To poke fun without being cruel.” Print runs are around 200,000, and the newsstand price is €4.90 — about $5.30 American. (Your best deal, though, is the 100-year subscription for €100.) And it’s all profitable.

American newspapers continue to cut print days — from the traditional 7 issues a week to 6, or 3, or even 1. Maybe La Bougie du Sapeur has figured out the end game.

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