Newspaper subscriptions work a little differently here. We subscribe to the Shanghai Daily which features both local, national and international news, in various flavours of bias!
You cannot buy newspapers and magazines in supermarkets or grocery stores! The only way to buy a newspaper on a daily basis is from kiosks that sell all kinds of Chinese newspapers and magazines – these kiosks are situated along most main roads, every few hundred metres.
A subscription for the Shanghai Daily involves an online application/email/phone-call to the subscription department of the newspaper. Usually it takes 2-3 days from application until the arrangement for payment is made. The latest arrangement involves the newspaper subscription department telling the post office when they can send someone around to your apartment to collect payment. If you miss the beginning of the month (usually we pay for 6 months at a time and I forget that I need to contact them BEFORE the end of month 6!), they subtract the no. of days that you have missed and work out the outstanding amount. There doesn’t seem to be an option for 6 months from TODAY! The post office worker arrives at your home with a completed receipt, pockets your money and lo, and behold, you now have an active subscription.
Our January renewal involved some additional phone-calls and complications in that we weren’t at home, and there were public holidays, and the post office in the area near to our office had to send someone to collect the money while we were at work. This time I sent an email request yesterday and was expecting a few days delay, and was a bit annoyed that no one contacted us today about finalising the payment arrangements. Much to our surprise the doorbell rang this evening at around 6.00 – and there was “the worker”. We handed over 6 months’ subscription fees, got change and a receipt, and (hopefully) our subscription will continue through to the end of the year.
Last year there were a few days when we didn’t receive the paper. When I raised a complaint, we received an apology via email, and the next day found an envelope in our mailbox with 6 ¥ (Chinese Yuan) in coins for the 3 days when the newspaper was not delivered!
I haven’t felt the urge to subscribe to any Chinese magazines, but apparently you also have do it at the Post Office!