So I was wondering what Dr Dobb's Journal was like and decided to ask them whether they did trial subscriptions. No, they don't -- you have to pay for a full year in advance (though they'll give partial refunds if you cancel before all issues have shipped).
Sure, for some magazines, you can read articles on-line... but it's not the same thing. And I'm not sure whether it's a good judge as to whether you'll like a magazine, since whether you'll like a magazine is influenced not only by the content but also a bit things such as layout, paper quality, proportion of advertisements and so on.
And shortly afterwards, I got advertising material from the C/C++ Users' Journal (or something along those lines) with a "limited time only" offer for a subscription. Well, the blurb sounded interesting, but paying for two yearly subscriptions in the same month is a bit much for my budget. Especially since money is a bit tight now that my wife went back to school. (Though thy did offer a money-back guarantee if the magazine isn't great -- seems like a perfect opportunity for abuse: subscribe for a year and then say the magazine is crap and get your money back?)
So -- what's wrong with a decent trial subscription? Three months or whatever? So people have a chance to see whether the magazine looks promising without having to sink a lot of money into it up front?
(Hm, maybe it's due to the bad economy? Magazines who like to have cash to work with short-term?)