Being subscription only eliminates any possibility of an impulse buy followed by, hopefully, regular readership and purchase. Perfect binding and the higher quality paper must increase the production costs too. Maybe they are in some financial difficulty? I think they should tell the subscribers something.
I too subscribed to Blocks at the start. I found it a bit disconcerting when the crew jumped ship in case the magazine folded, but I certainly didn't regard it as a fiasco. I've continued to subscribe to Blocks and also subscribed to Bricks when it started. I find the content of both magazines to be perfect for my needs and about as far removed from 'smug' as it is possible to be. The downside is that there is a lot of overlap between the two magazines caused by the need to feature and review the latest LEGO releases.