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Subscriptions - Scientific American

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Frequently Asked Questions

I'm a subscriber. How do I access the digital content?

If you purchased your subscription here at, your digital access was instantly activated with your purchase.  For print or digital subscribers who did not purchase their subscription on our website, you need your account number to activate online and tablet content.  If you need help locating your account number, please visit this FAQ, call us at 800-333-1199, or email us.  We would be happy to provide it to you.  

Please note: your account number is numeric only and 5-8 digits long. Please do not include any zeroes that appear in front of your account number. Click here for a handy image of our mailing label, showing the account number highlighted.

Once you have your account number, please proceed with the following:

If you have not yet registered an account with us online:
Go to the home page and click on Sign In, then click on Not yet registered?.
Check the "I am already a subscriber" box.
Enter your account number and last name, then click on "Look up Account"
Complete the form, select your email preference, and agree to our Terms of Use
Click Create My Account

If you already have an account at
Please sign in, then select My Subscriptions from the My Account menu.  If you do not see your subscription there, click on "Don't see all your subscriptions?", enter your account number in the field that pops up, and click on Add.

How do I find my account number?

Print subscribers can find their account numbers on the address label of their issues, highlighted below. It is numeric only, five to eight digits long, and does not include any letters, symbols, or leading zeroes. Therefore, if your mailing label shows SCA0001234567/0#, your account number is 1234567.  Account number highlighted in sample label below.

If you do not have an issue handy, or if you are a digital-only subscriber, you can always email us or call us at 800-333-1199 for your account number.

If you received your account number in an email from [email protected], your account number appears in the email with zeroes before your actual number. Please do not include these zeroes with your account number when activating your account online. Your account number is 5 to 8 digits long with no zeroes at the front.

If you subscribe to Space & Physics and/or Health & Medicine, your subscription does not need an account number for activation. These subscriptions are active as soon as the subscription purchase is completed on our website.

How do I activate my gift subscription?

Gift subscriptions are activated with either an account number or with a gift code, depending on how the subscription was purchased.  When a gift subscription is purchased, an automated email to the gift recipient is sent out with the information needed to activate online access.  This email can sometimes be found in the recipient's spam folder, but sometimes the gift giver doesn't have the recipient's most current email address.  The following provides the information you need to activate your gift subscription when you did not receive a gift email.

If your gift subscription was purchased at, your gift subscription is activated by a gift code.  If you do not receive the email with the code, please email us and we will resend the code to you.  When you have the code, and after you have registered an account on our website, you then activate the code by clicking on My Account, then My Subscriptions, and lastly on "Have a gift subscription?"  Clicking this last opens a window for you to paste the gift code into.  Once the code is in the window, click ADD.

If your gift subscription was purchased over the phone or through the mail, your account number can be used to activate your subscription.  If you do not receive the gift email, contact us for your account number.  See these full instructions for account number activation.

How do I buy a gift subscription?

It's easy to buy a gift subscription!  Simply click the "This is a gift" box under the subscription in your shopping cart. This opens the box seen below, where you can enter the gift recipient's information.

You can also call us to purchase gift subscriptions by phone at 800-333-1199.

Can I buy subscriptions over the phone?

Customers can purchase Scientific American and Scientific American Mind subscriptions over the phone.  Just call us at 800-333-1199 to purchase your print or digital subscription or gift subscription.  International customers can call 001-1-515-248-7684.  Once purchased, you can use your account number to activate your digital access.  Click here for instructions.

Space & Physics and Health & Medicine digital magazines are only available online at this time.  Single issues and subscriptions for these publications are not available for purchase by phone.

Email us if you have any questions!

Can I get a lifetime or multi-year subscription?

Scientific American does not offer lifetime subscriptions.  Every subscription sold on our website is a one-year subscription. 
All Scientific American and Mind subscriptions sold on our website will automatically renew once a year until you tell us to stop.  You can call us or email us at any time to stop renewals or cancel a subscription.
We do offer 2 and 3 year subscriptions to Scientific American and Mind magazines.  These multi-year options are offered to customers usually automatically prior to their first renewal, but you can purchase a multi-year subscription to either of these two magazines by calling us at 800-333-1199.  You can also email us for more information and options to buy 2 and 3 year subscriptions.
Space & Physics and Health & Medicine magazines do not offer multiple year subscriptions at this time.  Also, at this time these two publications do not automatically renew.  Email this help desk if you want to cancel your Health & Medicine or Space & Physics subscription.

Are Mind, Space & Physics, or Health & Medicine available in print?

Mind Magazine was last published in print in May of 2017.  Mind is now a digital-only magazine.  When you subscribe to Mind, it includes both online (pdf) issues, and mobile issues available in the Mind app.

Space & Physics and Health & Medicine are also digital-only publications and are not available in print.

You can get a subscription to any or all of these on our Subscription Page.

How do I change my address for my print subscription?

Please advise us of your new address about 6 to 8 weeks prior to your move. You may change your address with our online subscription management page, you can email us, or you can also call customer service.

How do I update my payment information?

The most secure way to update your payment information for renewal is to call us.  Please do not email payment information to us, as it is not secure.

If you purchase a subscription or a subscription renewal from, your payment information is automatically updated.

If your Scientific American or Mind subscription is currently active, then you can use this online account manager to update your payment method.

How do I cancel my subscription?

Just let us know!  You can email us or call us to cancel at any time.

Can I get a subscription in another language?

We have several partners that republish our content in other languages.  They are published and sold independently of Scientific American, so subscriptions and issues must be purchased through our partners directly.  Please click here to see the list of international editions, with links to their websites.

I would like to purchase a subscription for my school, library, or business. How do I do that?

All subscriptions offered for sale on are for individual subscribers only, and are not offered to institutions.  These subscriptions do not support institutional use, and purchasing a personal subscription for institutional use is a violation of our Terms of Use.

Scientific American print subscriptions and Scientific American digital subscriptions for institutions are sold separately.  Call us at 800-333-1199 for institutional print pricing.  Please note, no digital access is included with institutional print subscriptions.

Unlimited IP access for institutions is available via the Institutional License.  Please visit our page for librarians, or our own FAQ for more information about the Institutional License.

Discontinuation of Collector's Editions Subscription

Collector's Editions will be discontinued as a subscription, but you will still find the Collector's Editions in print on newsstands and as a pdf in our Archive.  Please email customer service at [email protected] if you need further information.

I have more questions!

You can email us here if you need more information about our various subscription packages, what is included, and how continuous service works.

Email us here if you have questions specifically about your Scientific American print subscription, Mind digital subscription, or renewals for either of these publications.

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