Despite Gloomy Newsstand Report, All That Matters Is YOUR Bottom Line
In the same week that it was reported that, "The month of November saw a cornucopia of new titles hit the marketplace, 23 of them promising frequency, including two arriving at the newsstands for the first time, and 56 specials and bookazines . . ." we receive the all too consistent news from Magnet that newsstand sales have dropped again in double digits. The most optimistic highlight of the report is that "sell through efficiency improved in the 3rd quarter to 27.4%, up from 26.5%." That positive note means that we sell 2.7 instead of 2.6 magazines for every 10 that we print. So we get the pretty good and the very bad in the same week. New titles arriving and fewer titles actually selling.
Here is the deal from my perspective: I have many friends who are publishers and many friends who are printers, and most of these compatriots are doing well and some are thriving. That's the funny thing about aggregate numbers -- even if the overall analysis is bad, or even terrible, and it is, it doesn't mean a damn thing if your printing plant or your publication is doing well. So there ya have it -- the only meaningful bottom line is, how are you doing?
As the printing pond gets smaller and smaller, which it obviously is by any standard of reporting, what is left by Darwin's publishing laws of supply and demand should become increasingly more expensive and therefore more valuable. All you have to do, is to survive the current Armageddon and put out the most outstanding print products possible to those who are still addicted and still hungry for printed reading products. This gets more complicated each year, because the trends are that people spend less time with print every year than the year before. Still I think when the time spent with print reaches the next low number of 3%, (it was 4% and dropping at the last accounting,) it will hopefully be considered quality time and an engaged and unique off-line moment when compared with all other media.
Bob Sacks (aka BoSacks) is a printing/publishing industry consultant and president of The Precision Media Group (BoSacks.com). He is also the co-founder of the research company Media-Ideas (Media-Ideas.net), and publisher and editor of a daily international e-newsletter, Heard on the Web. Sacks has held posts as director of manufacturing and distribution, senior sales manager (paper), chief of operations, pressman, circulator and almost every other job this industry has to offer.