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Senior Editor

Pub Talk

By James Sturdivant

About James

 

Publishers' Dojo

Linda Ruth
What Can We Learn From Time Inc.’s “Spreadsheet-Gate”?
Aug 27, 2014

What does it say about our perception of online content when we learn that "only" writers who work for SI.com...



Media Vent

Bob Sacks
Time Inc.’s Editors and Their Damned Church & State
Aug 25, 2014

Last fall Joe Ripp, the new Time Inc. CEO, told his editors that they'd be reporting to the business side...



B2B Beat

Andy Kowl
The Impact of LinkedIn Buying Bizo
Aug 12, 2014

If B2B publishing was a different industry, the prospect of LinkedIn buying Bizowould invite anti-trust scrutiny. Just think about what might...



The Digital Market

Thea Selby
Top 5 Mobile Trends for Publishers—It’s Good News, Folks
Jul 7, 2014

Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is one of my s/heroes. In this day and age of branded...



Industry Insiders

The Insiders
New York Times ‘Innovation Report’ Points Way to Digital Future
May 23, 2014

The leaked New York Times Innovation Report highlights the challenges it is facing in the digital age, but more importantly, it echoes...



Publisher's Paradox

Andrew Davis
Publisher’s Paradox: Your Newsletter Subscribers Are Being Overfed
Apr 28, 2014

Charlie Magazine, based in Charleston, South Carolina, isn't asking its readers to subscribe to everything. Instead, Charlie is inviting readers...



Profit from Publishing!

Thaddeus B. Kubis
Media Conference Exhibitors Should Go Deeper to Engage
Oct 9, 2013

It has been a few weeks since I attended (as the guest of the event organizer) the Publishing Business Conference...



Dealing With the Loss of Saturday Delivery

 

The only good thing about the loss of Saturday delivery for periodicals publishers is that the response is clear, if painful. There's only so much a print concern can do to get around the realities of the manufacturing and shipping process, but magazines have been thinking for some time about how best to tweak production and distribution schedules to minimize the impact of such a move, which has been batted around for years.

A typical situation is that faced by The Week. The magazine's president, Steven Kotok, told Poynter's Andrew Beaujon that the magazine currently closes Wednesday to ensure 90 percent of subscribers receive the magazine by Saturday. Loss of weekend delivery leaves two "not-great" options, he said: close earlier and miss some news, or accept Monday delivery, which changes the reader experience. With an audience used to a lean-back weekly news roundup, the change is understandably unsettling.

Bloomberg Businessweek has been trying to speed up delivery times, the magazine's manufacturing head, Bernie Schraml, told the Wall Street Journal, claiming only a quarter of subscribers will see delivery pushed to Monday.

How is this achieved? The best strategy is some combination of moving up ad/editorial closing and tightening production to ensure a Thursday/Friday delivery date, according to Ben Madril, National Director of Mailing Sales and USPS Liaison at Trend Offset Printing.

Trend is offering print schedule adjustments, delivery re-prioritization or alternative/private delivery as options to its publishing customers, which, in combination with printing closer to final destinations, can speed the process.

"For the heavily-populated cities near our facilities,  this has been a significant advantage for our customers in meeting on-time deliveries," Madril says.

Back in 2010, Publishing Executive reported on a move by magazine publishers to alternative distribution services, such as The Economist's experimenting with hand delivery in the suburbs of Washington D.C. Magazines read primarily by affluent, urban populations are best positioned to take advantage of such services.

This is unlikely to help national magazine distributors such as Meredith, Conde Nast or Hearst. On the other hand, loss of Saturday delivery affects weeklies the most, and these publishers' business models are based on monthly delivery, leaving much more leeway for adjusting deadlines and delivery dates. This, along with a forward-looking focus on digital products, may explain why the USPS's announcement has met with a somewhat muted response from an industry with, arguably, bigger things to worry about.

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