Evidently you have thought very hard about the subscription issue, so I'm going to try to talk you into getting a subscription. Please just hear me out and read my entire post.
Benefits of $12 subscription
1. Delivered to your mailbox.
2. No going to the store to see if they have the latest issue.
3. You get to tell all of your friends you subscribe to Maximum PC
4. No wasted costs in order to obtain the magazine.
Cons of $12 subscription
1. You can't "not purchase" the magazine.
2. It takes a little while before you receive your first issue.
3. For $12 you don't get the CD that comes with the magazine.
You pay $8.99/issue, probably $9.50 or so after taxes. You only get that one issue, which is fine, but for just slightly more you could have a guaranteed year of Maximum PC without having to pay $19 (or so).
If you buy a subscription to Maximum PC it would cost $12. Now subtract $12-9.50=$2.50. That means you would most likely have to come up with an extra $2.50/year
in order to subscribe to the magazine. Not to mention you would get 19 more
issues instead of just the one I used to figure the additional up-front cost.
Now figure in the extra costs in obtaining the magazine.
You pay $9.50/issue + gas it takes to get to Walgreens + opportunity cost of waiting for the issue. You would by far go over the $12 amount for a subscription, plus you don't have to wait for them to stock the issue. You would get the issue very promptly and have somewhat first access to it.