From the Editor: Putting Paranoia in Perspective
I often agree with Bob Sacks, our longtime columnist, and a friend and mentor. (He is much older than me, you know.) But after reading his column in this issue, "Paranoia in Publishing" (page 42), I felt the need to address a few things.
I understand the fear he talks about—last year especially, it was virtually tangible. Budgets were being sliced and diced, layoffs were occurring seemingly weekly, and talented, brilliant publishing executives were standing in unemployment lines or working unrelated jobs to pay the bills. I am not about to say that we are on the road to a swift recovery (although revenue for many is on the rise, and many companies have begun lifting hiring freezes and issuing raises).
That is not to say the fear is gone. I know many executives who still question whether their jobs will be here in a year or whether they should leave publishing altogether. But beyond those people, I encounter more, like myself, who believe that within this industry evolution—or, as some have called it, revolution—also lies opportunity.
New publications still are being launched. According to a blog by Samir Husni, aka "Mr. Magazine," more magazines were launched in January (56) than in any year since 2007— and almost double that of a year ago. "So here you have it," Husni notes, "a recap of the first month of the second decade of the 21st century showing no signs of cold, death or any frozen [ink]-on-paper experience." As far as year-to-year comparisons, Husni says 747 titles were launched in 2009, more than 2008 (685) and 2007 (713).
Custom publishing is on the rise as well. According to a press release announcing results of a Custom Publishing Council (CPC) study in December 2009, 2009 spending was double that of 2008—its highest level since the survey was launched in 2003. "Total spending on branded content was over $1.8 million per company," the release stated, "with 51 percent spent on print publications, 27 percent on Internet media, and 22 percent on categories such as video or audio."