DEAR SUN SPOTS: What happens to all the magazines in the stores that we see at the checkout lines, like Family Circle, Woman’s Day, People and many more? Does the store throw them away? Can we get copies of these magazines? Thank you for all your help. — No name, no town

ANSWER: The magazines are returned to the distributors for a credit and then recycled, so they aren’t available for sale after a certain time. Here’s why: the retailer gets the full cover price that is paid by the customer. Then the retailer has to pay a percentage of that price back to the distributor. The distributor gives a cut to the magazine publisher of the magazine.

If the retailer doesn’t return the percentage for each magazine they’ve had in the store, they have to return the unsold magazine. The covers are removed so the magazines can’t be purchased after being claimed as a return.

Because the retailer has to pay a specific percentage of the cover price, it’s not in their best interest to sell the magazines at a discount. They have to return unsold copies ASAP so they don’t have to pay full price. They make more money clearing the shelves for the newest issues.

Only magazines actually sold count toward circulation numbers and these numbers are carefully tracked. This number is what drives advertising space rates. That’s how magazine publishers make their real money.

To think about all this waste is bothersome, but that’s the magazine publishing biz.

I only subscribe to a couple magazines and swap and share them with friends and family members. Also, at my local library, we’re able to grab up publications that are past their prime but loaded with good information. National Geographic, Smithsonian, Maine Magazine, Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living, People and Downeast are a few of the titles in a big basket by the door, free for the taking. Libraries are a gold mine!

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I would like to know if there are any bus tours to the Big E Fair in Topsfield, Massachusetts. Are there any hotels or motels nearby where we could stay? Thanks for all the great information. This column has been very helpful to me. — No name, no time

ANSWER: You may want to check with local senior citizen groups to see if trips are being organized for this big New England fair. Try SeniorsPlus in Lewiston at 795-4010. They may have a group going to this event.

Topsfield and surrounding areas have many overnight accommodations from luxurious hotels to budget motels to bed and breakfasts. The number to contact for information about the fair is 978-887-5000.

Hopefully, by putting the word out in Sun Spots, other readers can give us information about any tours.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I subscribe to T.V. Week, and the last two weeks “The Good Doctor” was listed on Saturday evenings on WMTW at 8 p.m. but it never came on. Why? — Beryl, Lisbon

ANSWER: It could have just been a misprint. The good news is that “The Good Doctor” starts a new season on ABC on Sept. 24.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected]