Says Who? Anonymous Dead Tree Edition Blogger Talks All Things Publishing
INBOX: With the recent fluctuation of paper prices, what are some tips for publishers to help manage costs in this area?
DT: Paper mills don't announce price decreases, and often fudge when announcing increases, so it's important to get pricing information from multiple sources—mills, brokers, industry publications and blogs. Mills are responding to overcapacity by developing new products that can take the place of higher-cost papers. Make printers compete on paper waste or allowances as well as price. Ask whether they can use narrower rolls without you changing page widths. It's amazing how many publishers use rolls that are wider than necessary, often because they didn't challenge sloppy work by a printer's estimating department.
INBOX: As publications shift their focus online from print, what can publishers do to optimize both of these channels, for readers and advertisers?
DT: Publishers need to stop talking about print vs. digital. Readers don't think that way; they use print for some purposes and the Web for others. Some digital products have been disasters, but no one's running around saying digital is dead. In the same way, print isn't dead. It's just that some print-based business models are broken. People who say digital is the future need to think about what form of digital they mean—free Web, pay-wall Web, digital newsletters, etc. If e-book readers are the medium of the future for magazines, then some publishers are sowing the seeds of their own destruction by skimping on paid-subscription print magazines. Tomorrow's subscribers to the Kindle-based magazine are probably today's subscribers to the print magazine.