Thoughts on MAGNET 2015 Q1 Newsstand Sales Results
There is absolutely nothing new in the latest newsstand reports that we didn't really already know, and the latest stats shouldn't be any kind of surprise to anyone. The print enthusiasts on the planet will continue to deny that there is anything wrong with the medium, and many new print titles will still be born despite the statistically obvious fact that print gets a smaller footprint each and every every quarter since 2008. There is no bottom to this trend and there is no correction possible anywhere in sight. Nevertheless. I suggest that there is some hope.
My question to you all is this: Is totality of averages really the only effective way to look at our industry? Are we actually one big inter-connected publishing company and it's sink or swim together? Or are there thousands of separate companies and titles that have their own hidden successes as well as the obvious on-going failures? With our predilection for schadenfreude, we humans love a story of things that have gone wrong. We get distracted and perhaps enchanted by negative news, of which there is plenty, and forget that there are successes happening every day, too. What about the hundreds of titles that are actually doing well, even in the dark and murky newsstand? What about the enthusiast titles that are doing fine and have reworked their business plans to gather an extraordinary amount of revenue in other areas than declining print?
What this means to all of us is that we aren't dead nor dying as an industry. I will admit that there may be a great deal of major industrial pruning yet to happen. But evidence has shown that consistent growth is a possible outcome for some titles and even some entire genres.
There isn't going to be an end to this trend until we lose the concept of print as a commodity and follow the bookazines to success. Better, more expensive magazines produced in smaller numbers is the path to success in print. Simply put, we need to print less and charge much more. I have said for a very long time that print isn't dead or dying, but it is going on a stringent and long term diet. As painful as the smaller more expensive footprint might sound, this is the path to profitability and sustainability for a print product in the 21st century.