D. Eadward Tree
The digital natives entering our business have a lesson for us traditionalists: More than ever, printed magazines are the ideal medium for those whom want deep engagement with a specific niche -- and whom are willing to pay for it. Now we just need to learn how to niche-ify our magazines.
In 2009, a struggling Newsweek upgraded its paper stock at an estimated cost of $3 million in a desperate attempt to turn its print business around. It didn't work.
EW's publisher indicated the cost of the EW paper upgrade was in "seven figures," though a Dead Tree Edition analysis ballparks an $800,000 annual hit to the paper, postage, and freight budgets.
A court order Friday will probably mean higher postage costs than expected for publishers next year. But postage rates might actually decrease for a brief period this summer before rising again.
Welcome to what might become known as The Season of Roller Coast Postal Rates.
If your organization is involved in print publishing -- you know, that ink on paper, Gutenberg thing -- now is an ideal time to reexamine your paper-purchasing practices. Here are three reasons that your substrate may be out of date:
The Tablet Revolution turned out to be only a minor uprising. What happened? More importantly, what can we learn from revisiting the plans and predictions that turned out to be so far off target? I see 8 lessons:
At first glance, a printed magazine seems simple -- too simple to be worth discussing in an issue focused on publishing technologies. After all, a magazine is just a bunch of static pages that can't be updated, tweeted, pinned, interstitialed, linked, liked, clicked, popped up, dissolved, cookied, tracked, hacked, or search-engine optimized.
If you are trying to budget key price changes for 2015, forget recent history and put away the economics textbook. The monopolistic U.S. Postal Service will forego its usual January rate increase and may have to reduce rates during 2015. But publishers will pay higher prices for paper in spite of—and perhaps because of—federal antitrust regulators' efforts to maintain a competitive market
Google, the epitome of the internet ventures that have so disrupted the magazine industry, turns out to have a crush on traditional publishers, a recently leaked report reveals. But publishers' increasingly reckless behavior threatens to dash this odd-couple relationship on the rocks.
In this edition, D. Eadward Tree explores six things magazine publishers should stop doing immediately. "Let's face it, the mindset we've adopted and assumptions we've made the past few years have led us astray," says Tree.
Are these the best of times or the worst of times to be in the magazine business? It depends upon whom you ask. And it depends upon what exactly you mean by "the magazine business." Consider two recent and at first glance diametrically opposed statements about the business from insiders:
They’re watching us. They’re hiring journalists, studying our methods, mimicking our headlines (e.g. “5 Healthy Snacks Your Kids Will Actually Eat”), trying to sound like us, and even playing by our rules. And if we’re not careful, they may eat our lunch.
The practices that have made us magazine publishers successful over many decades now threaten to undo us. Many respected magazines are only one reasonably-talented, technology-enabled part-time outsider away from losing much of their Web audience or perhaps going out of business altogether.
It seems like only yesterday when we first heard about iPads and thought they were feminine hygiene devices. Now we in the publishing industry are talking so much about iPads, Nooks, Kindles, and their e-brethren (or is it e-sistren?) that we've lost sight of what ink on paper can do.
If the postal service tries to carry out its plan, publishers are likely to be unhappy with the chaos that results.