Bosacks Readers Speak Out: On Big Fail for publishers?, niche audiences, and The Life Blood Of The Magazine Industry

By BoSacks Readers on February 18, 2021

Re: New Magazines:  The Life Blood Of The Magazine Industry
“New titles have always been the lifeblood of this industry.” We used to hear that at the beginning every convention. Our mantra within the magazine industry. With the blind race to digital, not discussed much over the last few years. Thanks Samir for bringing it back!
(Submitted by a Digital Supplier to the media Industry)
 
Re: New Magazines:  The Life Blood Of The Magazine Industry
New titles used to be national blockbuster launches in the UK, now it's more niche/ childrens or puzzles. The innovation is coming from smaller publishers all over the world
(Submitted by an International Business Developer)
 
Re; Big Fail for publishers? Just $92 per household spent on recreational reading in 2019—and even that may decline long term
Every now and then a really insightful and well-informed article comes along, and David Rothman's "Big Fail for Publishers" is this year's leading contender, at least so far. Thanks very much for sending it. His point that book publishers have failed to grow significantly in the past few years, despite plenty of opportunity, is very well thought out. And the use of actual statistics to support his case is so unusual... it's like finding a fossil or an old arrowhead or something. A few items really hit home for me. One was that publishers seem to be doing their best to discourage library use, which seems like the very definition of shortsightedness. Another is that everyone seems to ignore the used book market, which is a large and awesome resource, fueled by tax deductions. And then, finally, is the broad fact that the most important stats haven't really changed that much over the past couple of decades. The ultimate cure for almost every problem related to publishing is education. You reap what you sow.
(Submitted by a Publisher and an Official BoSacks Cub Reporter)
 
Re; Big Fail for publishers? Just $92 per household spent on recreational reading in 2019—and even that may decline long term
That $ 92 number seems terribly low...Boo.. That said; how does that compare to years prior to 2019...and, I would expect those numbers $$ to be even lower in 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent shrink of discretionary spending dollars... Myself, and many of my colleagues and friends, have all expressed a 'Drying of the Well' since March 2020, when the US started shutting down schools and retail, state by state. If more data is available; where would it be found ? I think many in the Book and Periodical Industry, would be very interested in data, forecasts, etc. , to aid planning and strategy for the rest of 2021 and beyond... Many Thanks
(Submitted by Regional Sales Manager)
 
Re: “Future resilience of the world’s media lies in focusing on niche audiences”:
Couldn’t agree more. Readers will pay for vetted content. The new media economic model dictates that readers, not advertisers pay for content.
(Submitted by an Industry Consultant)
 
RE: Hoffman - Next Generation of Advertising Horseshit
Wonderfully-articulated piece, although I admit to a penchant for a ranty style of journalism nowadays. Here's some truth: "There's as much variation within generations as there is between generations."
(Submitted by a Printer)
 
Re: New Yorker staffers are preparing for a possible strike as pay negotiations with Condé Nast stall
I know I've written to you about this before, but when the average worker can't take care of food, housing and the care of their children you get revolutions. I don't know how this will play out since they are running in the red--that is not sustainable.
( Submitted by an Industry Executive)
 
Re: travel & leisure
Hi Bo:
Got my latest issue of travel & leisure the other day and I thought to myself why hasn’t a travel magazine done a special on near future space travel -focus on Bezos, Elon musk and Branson and give us the dope on how much it’s gonna cost what kind of training passengers will have to do, terminals they takeoff from what the time tables look like, even when trips to Mars might happen- that would be a terrific special issue
(Submitted by a writer)
 
Re: New Magazines: The Life Blood Of The Magazine Industry
Thanks very much for sending Dr. Husni's "New Magazines: the Lifeblood of the Magazine Industry." I've always admired Mr. Magazine's rah-rah spirit about the publishing business. However, I often find myself questioning his methods and conclusions, especially so in this article. To start with, his data seems to contradict his premise. The trendline in his graph descends at an angle that suggests pernicious anemia more than lifeblood. The trend doesn't surprise anyone, I'm sure. The other thing is that businesses like Ulrich's and SRDS count periodicals comprehensively and systematically, and I'm curious how their numbers over the past two decades compare with Husni's. It couldn't be that hard for him to let us know. Finally, and not to belabor the point, I wonder about his advice. Telling prospective publishers that they need to find an audience doesn't seem all that insightful. Telling them what their business model should be before they launch their businesses seems a little premature. And saying that magazines are like candy that nobody "needs" but everybody likes? I think for once he's selling magazines a little short. Magazines are an expression of shared passions, and good magazines can become absolute necessities. Maybe cruising the shrinking newsstands isn't the best way to find the magazines that people can't live without.
(Submitted by a Publisher and an Official BoSacks Cub Reporter)
 
Re: Magazines still have a future. But it’s very different from their past.
I'll admit I've been around the block and it seems I've been reading an article like this with every down turn of the economy for what ever reason from the dot.com bubble, to the great recession, and now the Covid-19 induced down turn. The world is changing and continues to change and yes magazines/content consumption is changing with it. It just seems like so much deja vu.
( Submitted by an Industry Executive)
 
Re: How outside CEOs like one dubbed ‘Chainsaw’ drove the Maine paper industry’s collapse
Interesting. There are important parallels and lessons down the supply chain, as we urge titans to allow rescue of returns from the shredder for literacy. I know this is not the most pressing industry issue, but the shredder hurts short-term and long-tern industry gains, and our literacy hearts. 
(Submitted by a Founder)
 
RE: Rolling Stone seeks 'thought leaders' willing to pay $2,000 to write for them
You’d think that actual thought leaders might not need to pay for the appropriate people to listen to them. But then, there’s nothing new about publications offering vanity appearances, special marketing, and other things to those who pay enough. Maybe the difference is the democratization, or in this case, the down-market movement when pubs are desperate for revenue.
(Submitted by a freelance Writer)
 
Re: ‘Pivot to virtual’ divides publishers into two camps: Sink or swim for events strategies
For those of us whose primary business model for our events is ticket sales, 2021 did not decimate our events business. Yes, moving to online generally lowered topline revenue but the reduced travel and venue costs more than offset in many cases. I know many of my colleagues have seen a similar phenomenon – 50% hit to revenue but 40% increase in bottom line.
It turns out many of us have been working for the hotels and just didn’t know it.
(Submitted by a President & CEO)
 
Re: ‘Pivot to virtual’ divides publishers into two camps: Sink or swim for events strategies
Come on, Bo, this is feel good BS—while I understand and even applaud the effort event organizers have made to replace in person events with virtual events, let’s at the same time be serious—in person events, especially large trade shows, were enormous money makers with almost unconscionable margins (as high as 70% for really big shows)—by contrast virtual events are side shows...at best
 
Stories like this one raise false hopes—a more useful story would dig into the nitty gritty about what it costs to stage a virtual event, what technology is necessary, what might attendees pay (or not) and what sponsors/exhibitors will pay (or not)
 
I happen to think (at my advanced age I do that less frequently but every now and then...) that when/if virtual reality technology reaches full bloom, virtual events might explode and margins might meet or exceed those tied to in-person events—until then, let’s be real
(Submitted by a Publisher)
 
Re: Where Have You Gone Mr. Fezziwig?
Interesting to hear what’s left of the newsstand biz, from someone who got into it when we did, since I don’t follow it other than in your newsletter. I think it was a dumb literary allusion which made his case confusing, but interesting nonetheless to have it include human terms like community involvement.
(Submitted by a Publisher and Life-long friend and business partner of Bosacks)


By BoSacks Readers| February 18, 2021
Categories:  Readers Speak Out

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