Today, I Only Have Questions
Today, I only have questions. What is the difference between Europe and the United States when it comes to publishing and newsstand sales? Why are the newspapers in Europe not only doing well, but on the whole thriving and growing, while ours are gasping for air, with plummeting revenue and circulations? Why are the last U.S. ABC figures reporting such dire results while European magazines are on the whole doing better than we are? Why do European magazines charge almost the same for a subscription magazine as a newsstand title and we practically give away our subscriptions?
Let’s remember that we are talking about the very same product, manufactured in the very same way, but clearly with a different business model. Why are the European sales numbers for magazines hovering around a 60-percent sell-through while we struggle with a low- to mid-30-percent sell-through?
Let me move on. Why are the reading scores of our domestic youth plummeting? Is there any connection that text messaging is on the rise while writing skills are plummeting to unconscionable lows? Why is the biggest expense for so many businesses remedial writing for new employees?
None of these questions address the digital dilemma. Clearly, we are going to have to remake our industry and redesign our business models. These questions are a great start and a part of that process.
There you have it: a dozen questions and not an answer in sight. These are the things that make me, well, wonder just what the heck is going on with our business—and reading in general.