BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Proof that Print is Dead and Why it Should Be

By BoSacks Readers on March 17, 2015

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Proof that Print is Dead and Why it Should Be

 

 

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Proof that Print is Dead and Why it Should Be

You sure that goes back to the 1980s? This kind of silliness goes back further than that.

 

I'm sure some now deceased green eyeshade bookkeeper somewhere calculated that if you had someone take a back issue off the shelf, put it in an envelope and then mailed just that one item at a first class rate, they'd lose all of their margin from the entire subscription.

 

Or that there is someone who believes that waiting will increase their anticipation and when they finally get the issue they'll be filled with delight.

 

No one says "thanks for your subscription... download this coupon and bring it to (NAME THE STORE) and pick up your first issue for free... your the next issue will arrive by mail" or something like that? Or... "download your first issue for free at...."

 

Content can't be king if you can't get what you pay for.

(Submitted by an industry analyst)


 

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Proof that Print is Dead and Why it Should Be

You're angry? You publish a newsletter and give talks and get to travel. I don't begrudge you that because you work hard and earned it. But try coming down to the circ. department for a day.

 

The problem is not the circulation department. There is NO F*CKING CIRCULATION DEPARTMENT ANYMORE! We're all outsourced by the F*CKING geniuses in the F*CKING C Suite! Or if we still work in the office, we haven't had a pay raise or promotion in years and whenever some genius on Wall St. suggests that our stock would rise another 5 points, they wander on down here and lay someone else off. Or if we work for one of the splendid outsource companies, we have so much work, we're just pushing paper and emails around. Or if we're trying to survive solo, our clients are so small, you wonder how they put food on their table let alone ours.

 

Or if the geniuses up on the C level hire people for the circ department, they hire teenagers. But not the bright ones.

 

We know we could deliver a print mag to a new subscriber in a week or less. We know how. But the C Suite geniuses won't let it happen. Why? Because it costs money. And they think our readers are stupid.

 

It's the same in the newsstand world. They know they could use social media and marketing to drive people to the stores. They know they could coupon and co-op and promote beyond just buying retail space. Will they? No, they have other fish to fry. So we keep printing millions of copies each year and tossing them on racks and hope that someone wanders by and says "Hey, I think I'll pay FULL F*CKING PRICE for this 84 page magazine that was hidden in the third row of the bottom tier." And if it doesn't sell, they call the poor newsstand sod onto the carpet and demand answers to questions they feel they already know the answer to but it's really fun to make that guy squirm because it's the 21st century and that's how we do business these days. 

(Submitted by a publishing professional)

 

 

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Proof that Print is Dead and Why it Should Be

Your post is right on! Nobody can tell me they believe in customer service if delivery isn't immediate. Think about it, the product is already printed and what effort is it to post a system generated label and mail!

I use to question the same tactic with newspapers that took more than a day to deliver. You can order a pizza made from scratch and it's delivered to your door within an hour.

(Submitted by a Marketing person)

 

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Proof that Print is Dead and Why it Should Be

Bob, I can get custom kitchen cabinets made and delivered to my home in less time than it will take for your granddaughter to get her magazine. That's government-agency-level incompetence and the exact opposite of customer service, and consumers won't tolerate it much longer. 

(Submitted by a senior editor)

 

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Proof that Print is Dead and Why it Should Be

You could add an additional rant on the 21 days needed from print plant to on-sale.   Been asking about why we allow ourselves to do that for more than 15 years.  

(Submitted by a senior printing executive)

 

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Proof that Print is Dead and Why it Should Be

Our Magazine is a monthly magazine that takes anywhere from 3-6 weeks depending on where we are in the cycle... for instance, we closed our April issue yesterday, so someone who subscribes today will begin with May, which mails out 4/14.  We're glad to make exceptions and back start subscriptions upon request so that subscribers don't have to wait so long.

 

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Proof that Print is Dead and Why it Should Be

Spot on Bo.  Had you ordered the Frozen subscription, by the time your granddaughter actually received the magazine she'd likely be on to something else anyhow. Mind-boggling. 

 

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Proof that Print is Dead and Why it Should Be

The Frozen magazine only publishes 6 issues a year, so it makes sense that the wait time is double that of a monthly pub.  As a company that goes above and beyond to ensure a great customer experience, you'd think Disney would take measures to reduce the wait time, but the delay is logical if we're only looking at the production process. 

(Submitted by a customer service person)

 

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Proof that Print is Dead and Why it Should Be

The stupidity of our industry is unfortunate and it doesn't just stop at subscription delivery. The newsstand for instance, and 21 days to on-sale. Really? And not an attempt in the 40 years I've been in the business to seek any meaningful change. Well, it makes sense if you have no competition, but in the last 15 years we are dying a death of a thousand cuts of competition and we do nothing. We whine and say, but print is really important, isn't it?  

(Submitted by an editor)

 

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Proof that Print is Dead and Why it Should Be

Bo, I'm interested to hear what you get back on this. We're always trying to deliver faster, but cost effectively, on subscribers' first issue. We're trying to be fast, but co-mail mostly as well. Our theory, the faster the first issue, the faster they pay-up on their subscription. We also struggle with getting their first issue in the hands of the subscriber before the first invoice. It takes new subs for us anywhere from 2-3 weeks to get their first issue. Our language on our subscription cards say first issue in 4 to 8 weeks, marketing and legal need to put language there but they're padding it big time.

I'd love to hear more ideas on this.

(Submitted by a Publisher)

 

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Proof that Print is Dead and Why it Should Be

Bo - Wow!  That delivery is so out of touch.  Did you know that you can order a Tesla and get it custom made and delivered inside that same timeline!?  Maybe they're editing the Movie and magazine to personalize it and include your granddaughter in the storyline - which would be real interesting and engaging.  But I Doubt that's their hangup. That said, with today's digital imaging it could be done, and could still be delivered in days, not weeks.

 

Wake up Disney!  You're Founder is on ice, not your audience!

(Submitted by a supporter for print when it makes sense)

 

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Proof that Print is Dead and Why it Should Be

Could it be that publishers are testing the waters in order to decide if they'll actually go through with publishing an idea?  Throw out an idea, ask for subscriptions, but tell everyone it will take 9 weeks for them to receive the first edition and by then they can decide IF they want to go through with it ... or not.  They could simply say, "Oh, sorry, but demand was not there and enclosed we are returning your check." Meantime they could already have the first several editions laying on a table, ready to be put together JUST IN CASE!

 

Not sure if some work like this, but with that long wait time of 9 weeks, this did occur to me.

(Submitted by a publisher)

 

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Proof that Print is Dead and Why it Should Be

Thanks as usual for articulating the important issues of our day. I find this terribly embarrassing for the industry. You are correct about trying to name one industry that follows this delivery delay. I can't. Not a one.

(Submitted by a publisher)

 

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Proof that Print is Dead and Why it Should Be

six to nine weeks -- fantastic.   And, by the way, the New Yorker has two full page ads this week.  The Economist has three.   I think this August we'll see issues with no full-page ads except the covers.  Maybe not even then.

( submitted by an operations professional)

 

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Proof that Print is Dead and Why it Should Be

Bo, I'm afraid that this will not be fixed anytime soon. Fix the distribution cycle would be relatively easy. My printer could do it. And any printer of merit could do it. Printers are not the problem but could be a solution. It's an industry of 9,000 ships each with its own Captain Ahab. If we could act as an industry together in lock step, we could fix any business issue we confronted. We can't and we won't. It's every man for himself and screw the other guy.  I have little hope for the publishing industry as we knew it. We get smaller and smaller each year and nobody is willing to see it or do anything about it. I read too many blogs and linkedin posts about how wonderful print is and how many great titles we produce. Oh sure. How's newsstand doing? Could that be fixed ...yes, but it won't be. Subs a problem? Yes, we could fix that too, and some titles have, but not enough. Manufacturing cycle no longer competitive in the 2000's?, that could be cut in half, but it won't. Nope at the end of the day there are too many people making too much money in a hurting market to make the meaningful changes we desperately need.

(Submitted by a publisher)

 

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Proof that Print is Dead and Why it Should Be

Bo, its a very simple thing. Nobody disputes that print isn't a wonderful way to communicate. It is. But it isn't the best or the only way to communicate. In some important ways it is the worst. That flaw falls on the speed of our execution. In that we can't compete with anyone. TV and radio are instantaneous. The web is also an instant form of global communication. 

 

So I get that print doesn't attempt to compete, it can't. But at the same time it shouldn't take our flaws to the extreme.

 

Sending a new subscriber a print product in 9 weeks fulfills the urban legend that we are an antique dysfunctional system.  

 

It seems to me that when you are being disrupted by new inventions, it doesn't make sense to double down on your inefficiencies.  Rather we should leave no stone un-turned to quicken our deliveries. It's not actually that hard. Our printers can do it, if we only ask. The cost will be more but the public will like it, and perhaps pay for it. It should at least be an option.  Not to do something is to admit defeat and die the slow death of indifference, when it can clearly be fixed. I know several publishers who are doing just that. Working with their printers for solutions.  Working to fix the delivery problems, at a cost, but fixing it just the same. 

(Submitted by an industry consultant) 


By BoSacks Readers| March 17, 2015
Categories:  Readers Speak Out

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