Dear M.A. and His Research Slaves: Why is it that you can't buy the magazine National Geographic in any stores? How much do you think one of my mother-in-law’s old National Geographics from the '60s and '70s would go for? — Ken Duff, Mission Valley
The publication was established in 1888 as the journal of the National Geographic Society, a club for anyone interested in exploration and adventure. Even today you don’t so much subscribe to the magazine as you do join the society and receive the mag as a membership perk. It’s also cheaper for them not to mess with the headaches of newsstand distribution for the paltry number they’d sell each month. And for some reason, every National Geo reader since the beginning of time has been convinced it’s unethical, perhaps even illegal, to throw a copy away, making Mom’s stash worth less than it will cost her to have it hauled off.