Pros: Beautiful covers, informative interesting articles about beanbags, great photos, comprehensive Buyer's Guide
Cons: Expensive, only comes out monthly- information is not timely for new beanie releases and retirements
Ty, Inc. is a very secretive company. It does very little advertising to promote its products. The company has a web site but many of its announcements and releases are first given out at trade shows (open only to retailers.) This makes it frustrating for collectors to get up-to-date information. Ty rarely releases any information about his products, either. So, a magazine like Mary Beth's BeanBag World is a necessity if you want in depth information on Ty products. The magazine is four years old. If you are not a collector, you probably will not want to spend the money buying this magazine. It is pretty expensive. But if you have any interest in the Ty Beanies, you might want to pick up an issue from time to time. Before you toss, or give way, any of your Beanies, I suggest you take a look at her comprehensive Buyer's Guide in each issue.
A year ago, the magazine contained up to 368 pages. Now, because of the diminished interest in Beanies, there are fewer advertisers and fewer articles. Although the magazine is slimmer it is still a valuable source of information for collectors. The last three issues are between 96-128 pages. (This is about the length of her very earliest issues.) That's a big difference from just two years ago. Even the Buyer's Guide is now shorter.
What I miss the most about the issues is that they no longer have the beautiful fold out full-page color photos of the Beanies. I have saved all my back issues and refer to them from time to time. In the past, sometimes the cover itself was a fold out. This made it a stronger weight cover.
The issues used to come in plastic bags to protect them from damage during delivery. My last month's issue arrived with only a cover - no magazine. I called the company to request a new copy. The company representative was very polite, helpful and efficient. My toll- free call was answered immediately, an apology was given and a new magazine arrived within a week. Great customer service, I think! The representative said that cost was the reason for not using the plastic bags anymore. Money must also be the reason why the cover weight is a bit less now. Also, must be the reason the cover quality is not as high as it once was.
Speaking of covers- this magazine has the most beautiful covers I've ever seen in a magazine. One past issue has holographic designs (Neon the Seahorse) on it. Other issues have rich-looking foil gold, silver and mauve lettering. Some covers even reproduce original paintings by artists and are gorgeous. Special issues have raised photos and lettering to enhance the beauty of the covers. All covers are glossy with bright clean colors. Ty Beanies grace all the most recent covers. For some issues, Mary Beth's Bean Bag World Magazine has two different covers. This sells more issues because collectors have to go out and get the different cover. This a good marketing strategy on her part but expensive for collectors.
Every issue contains a Buyer's Guide. You can look up almost all of the Ty products and find out what they are worth. In some earlier issues, Mary Beth has left out the pictures. Because of popular demand, she has now added them back again. Complete information is also given on Tush Tags as well. The Buddy line, Beanie Kids and Attic Treasures are always included in the Buyer's Guide. In some issues, other Ty lines and other company collections are covered as well. A few times a year, Ty Trading Cards or the special Sports Beanies (ones given out at games with special cards) are covered. Other issues include the McDonald's Teenie Beanies and other Ty Promotions like the Ty Broadway Beanies, Special Olympics and Sick Kids Beanies. By the way the original name of the magazine was Mary Beth's Beanie World. Ty, Inc. told the magazine to change the name. Ty owns the copyright on the word Beanie.
On three occasions, readers have unexpectedly received a special 3-D collector card (stiff plastic) inside their magazines that depict the three original beautiful covers. The last card insert depicts the Princess Bear and I think it is so beautiful that I keep it on my fridge. In other issues, other companies have included their own perforated trading cards. These other light cardboard cards in no way compare with the beauty and quality of Mary Beth's Bean Bag World Magazine cover cards but are fun to keep, also.
Every issue has a Table of contents and an interesting letter from Mary Beth herself. In the current August issue she discusses the newest releases and retirements of Beanies. The letters are always informative and up beat. In Mary Beth's Bean Bits section, she gives the reader lots of great information and pictures of the new releases and retirements. Here you'll get lots of background information about the complete Ty line of products. Other articles in this month's section are about Internet fraud, Zany Brainy Filing for Bankruptcy and how to spot a counterfeit Buckingham Bear. Under Mary Beth's Market Analysis she tells readers about a new line of Ty product about to be unveiled - Ty Beanie Boopers. Mary Beth speculates that it may be Beanies targeted at older children ages 8-12. They may be similar to the Groovy Girls but we'll have to wait and see.
In the Reader Mail section there are always lots of photos to accompany the letters. I read in this issue that an original issue of the magazine recently sold for $16 on eBay. The Young Artists section has lots of engaging drawing by young children. I wonder if I could draw as well as some of these youngster do? In her Scrapbook section are lots of adorable photos of mainly youngsters or infants covered with their Beanie Collections. How exciting it must be for the families to see the photo in the magazine! At the back of the magazine is a list of the Beanie & Collectible Shows in the nation. I have attended several & they are terrific for obtaining missing Beanies or trading cards for a collection.
Other articles complete each issue. This month has an 8-page informative article on Beanie Web Sites. Another one is on a collector who has over 1,000 Peace Bears. Past issues have covered the topic of Beanies that are celebrity namesakes. Another was about the different categories within the collection. Sometime the magazine covers other collections.
In May, Manhattan Toy was compared with Ty. There was also another article on plush from Folkmanis, Inc, Be An Angel, Purr-Fection by MJC, North American Bear Company, Boyd's Collection Ltd., Holy Bears, Inc., Cast Art Industries and Herrington's Teddy Bear Club. Other collections covered on a regular basis are Bestever, Inc., Swibco, Inc., Dreamsicles and Classic Collecticritters, Inc. Last month, stuffed advertising beanbags put out by large companies were covered with pictures included. The Energizer Bunny I own is now worth up to $12. I got him for free with Proofs of Purchase. Borden's Elsie the Cow commands $40 on auction sites. Perhaps this is an area some of you might like to start collecting. The variety is great and each one is either free or a couple of dollars.
All Mary Beth's BeanBag World Magazine issues are terrific. They are fun to read as well as informative and colorful. My main complaint is the cost. A single issue costs $5.99, $8.99 Canada. Twelve issues cost $56.00. Subscribe through the card insert for $49.95 - still a lot of money. You will get a free beanbag with your subscription. My other complaint is that since the magazine is monthly, pictures of the new releases are often not available by the publication date. Articles about the new releases are often delayed for the same reason.
This month's issue will be on the newsstand through August 21, 2001. It has a cover of Addison the bear (blue bear with a baseball embroidered on his chest) that was given out on May 20th at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Could he be named for Allison Gumpert, a former Cubs pitcher? All you Chicago Cubs fans would especially like the included article and pictures about the Cubs' Beanie Day Promotion. If your children enjoy crafts, perhaps they would enjoy receiving the terrific Mary Beth's Craft Kids Magazine, 6 issues for $19.95. Call 1-888-763-6410 - Mon.-Fri. 9am-5pm CST and mention code JO12C7.
If you are interested in collecting Ty Beanies and have missed my earlier reviews, perhaps you would enjoy these links to them.
The latest one is on Lips the fish called, "What A Catch!"
Or, how about one on the beautiful Glory the American Bear called, "Goodbye American Glory."
The final one is on Beanie Baby collecting in general called, "My Passion Collecting Beanie Babies! Hints for New Collectors."