BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Loyal Pressman, The Newsstand and Apple Mags

By BoSacks Readers on March 20, 2019

Re: The night artists: Nashville's loyal pressmen face their final deadline

… have to say thanks for your highlight and callout of this post in appreciation and respect for the Printers - especially the Pressmen & women.

As a member of The Printing House Craftsman of Illinois from way back when, the literal magic of making oil and water mix and stay on paper in beautiful harmony has always awed me.  I read more than my share of emails, e-newletters, digital editions of magazines, blogs, social media... but I still get the NY Times Weekender and love sitting in the sun with a cup of coffee and the sections spread out around me. I still have coffee table books and archived boxes full of printed memorabilia. 

There's a time and place for everything. Apparently not enough demand in TN though.  Sad that such a legacy will come to an end.  I hope something is done to preserve the memory and the accomplishments! (submitted by a former Time inc’er) 

The night artists: Nashville's loyal pressmen face their final deadline

Hello Bo, Thank you for bringing us this great story.Working 26 years at a company that is over 100 years old I have had the chance to work in many positions and witness many changes in our industry, and am fortunate that what began as a small town company that I work for has been able to evolve. It is sad to hear of people forced out of their long-time loved positions as I can feel their pain, I have been “promoted” to several different jobs over the years as the plant evolved- sometimes welcomed changes and sometimes not. 

Seems that the more things change the more they suck, but we either need to adjust or perish in this field we’ve chosen- at least until we are able to find another line of work that can somehow utilize a varied and interesting mix of ever changing technologies and its associated business workings. (Submitted by a Printer) 

Five Myths about Journalism

Hi Bo: I did millions of dollars in business with newspapers and print magazines from 1993 to 2006.In my observation, inertia prevented nimble adaptation to new technology. In short, bad management.There was a widespread purposeful hobbling of online ventures and silly attempts at proprietary technology. 

I was called into a meeting at Forbes to show me the cuecat (Forbes’ answer to the mouse). You had to plug a cat shaped device into your computer and scan bar codes in print ads to bring up the same information (slowly, because of a dial up modem). Their ad director, Bill Flatley was a master salesman and had a sharp sense of humor, so I thought it was a practical joke for the first 15 minutes of the meeting. I had to swallow my laughter until my business partner and I were safely in a dark bar, where we laughed until tears flowed. (Submitted by a Publisher)


Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: On Bezos, AMI and the American Newsstand

The Ruth piece is pretty good and your response was excellent.

It’s clear the n/s channel has reached a serious inflection point. Chatham Asset Management (who ever they are) are now the key players on the newsstand.  Plus, in effect, the National Distributor function has been eliminated with the Chatham’s dual purchase of both the News Group and CMG.  And, of course, Chatham for practical purposes owns AMI, the largest n/s player (31% of audited pub rev in 2nd H ’18). The ground work has been laid for some serious wholesaler cost cutting, coupled with an expectation that both CMG and American News Company (the old The New Group) will soon be requesting steep price increases from publishers. 

Couple that with a continuing decline in the N/S sales of audited pubs - unit sales were off 12.7% and revenue down 11.9% in the 2nd half of last year and you have a recipe for serious concern. 

It might take me another week or two, but I’ll do a piece that combines a report on 2nd H ’18 sales performance and that tries to explain the pervasive “Chatham impact”. (Submitted by a Newsstand Analysist) 

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: On Bezos, AMI and the American Newsstand

Bo, So many reasons for the slow demise of the newsstand business. But in my view as the years went by and the retailers became more and more removed from the business it was inevitable that sales would decline. First we had consolidation at which time wholesalers became the "category manager" for the retailers and thus less involvement from the buyer. At the same time came in store service which now eliminated any in store help from the chain. Then came two significant bankruptcies that further alienated the retailers and in essence eliminated competition. Lastly we have SBT (or pay on scan) which shifted the shrink to the publishers and left the retailer with no incentive to care about efficiency or theft. Ironically each of these events we were told would make the industry stronger with the retailers.(Submitted by a Publisher) 


Wow.  Great piece.  While Bob Hoffman has completely missed the boat on online brands he’s right on the money with this piece about concerns about AI and big data.  We are letting companies amass, unregulated, enormous amounts of data capable to power machines capable of creating COMPLETELY realistic photos and writing or people who don’t exist.  

 threat to privacy, commerce, and national security is enormous.  Time to wake up folks.  This isn’t just about reining in the IAB on data collection/privacy policies, it’s a national/global threat that needs to be addressed by governments around the world. 


It's a shitty deal in several ways. Leaving aside the fact that a Spotify / Texture model won't work for magazines, the main problem is that the publisher's customers become Apple's customers. That's the side of these deals that publishers keep forgetting. The techies in the FANG companies take their inspiration from the old gaming phrase, "all your base are belong to us," and publishers are willing to take pennies in exchange. (Submitted by a Director of Marketing Operations) 

Bo: Way back, before I became a multi-title publisher, while in High School, I was a part-time pressman working in a small local quick printer in Florida. I never forgot that experience and I never forget to praise the pressman who work on my books. Thanks for this article and all the work you do for the industry. There is not a day that goes by where I don’t have something new to think about. (Submitted by a publisher)

By BoSacks Readers| March 20, 2019
Categories:  Readers Speak Out

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