Saturday, September 22, 2007

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Death Sprials? Jobs, Printers, and PR

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Death Sprials? Jobs, Printers, and PR

RE: Publisher - Printer Symbiosis or 'Death Spiral'?
Because I have spent the majority of my career as a publisher, and now more than a decade as a printer including publishing overlap - and all of that time in awe of and a "fan" of Benjamin Franklin - allow me to share an item of relevance to this conversation.

On Ben's tombstone, with all of the amazing credits he had to choose from, he left instructions to be buried as "Benjamin Franklin, Printer." But he used the term as it was generally understood then: it meant "publisher." In other words, printer and publisher were one and the same.

This might be an appropriate metaphor for Brown's "Death Spiral" warning. The two terms obviously became separated along the way; but maybe they are not that separate after all . . .
(Submitted by a Publisher)

RE: Publisher - Printer Symbiosis or 'Death Spiral'?
It is perhaps unfortunate that with printing, as with airline tickets, pricing levels are set by the stupidest competitor.
(Submitted by a Printer)

Re: Bo Sacks Launches Mag Consulting Firm
Mazel tov. I wish you and your partners satisfaction, success, and prosperity in your new endeavor, mediaIDEAS.

Although it seems counterintuitive, it is my belief that we entering a new golden age for magazines. It is perhaps unlikely that we will see the birth of another mass market, everybody-reads-it title like Life or Time or Readers Digest or US Weekly. (But who knows for sure?) On the other hand, entrepreneurial publishers will continue to launch smaller circulation titles (20M-80M) and many will succeed. And books that still fit the niche model while having circulations that are large but less-than-immense, i.e. The Economist, New York Magazine, Cooking With Paula Deen, etc. have a bright future.

As reader data become more available, and we learn to parse it, explain it, and sell with it, the value created by the editorial environment of the printed magazine will become increasingly obvious to advertisers eager to reach potential customers who are in a frame of mind to pay attention. The Jack Hanrahan piece you ran alongside the mediaIDEAS announcement speaks to this. Smart guy, that Mr. Hanrahan. In fact, he seems a natural ally for you and your partners because your customers and his will succeed together.

Just as no nation can tax itself into prosperity, no magazine can cost cut its way to success. It is a time to be bold. It is a time to invest in creative people with good ideas. Well run magazines that have passion and a point of view are part of the future.
(Submitted by a Printer)

Re: BoSacks Readers Speak Out: Jobs, Mags, and our Future
Bob, Your "loyal reader's" (below) comment reminded me of the experiences I have frequently had during the past few years with our magazine wholesalers and retailers. It led me to pick up an article in last week's Newsweek Magazine entitled "Era of the Super Cruncher". The gist of the article is that "expertise and intuition can be replaced by objective, data based decision making. Those who control and manipulate this data will be the masters of the new economic universe," according to the article.

This seems to tie in with "loyal reader's" statement that once he was a craftsman, now he is overhead.

The same could be said for newsstand distribution. Representatives of the publishers and national distributors used to rely on instinct, intuition, a study of past sales and like titles in categories and then work their business relationships with wholesalers who (at least the good ones) had long term ties to the communities and retail locations they serviced.

Now everything is managed remotely by people who have no ties to the retailers or the communities they service and the deliveries are, frequently, third party. There is no room for intuition, experience, salesmanship or even relationship building. The numbers are the numbers are the numbers (Of course, if you give us a little more discount and buy this promotion - which we won't guarantee full distribution on, we can change your numbers...). If this is progress, perhaps we should see what our sales efficiencies were before consolidation and after.

As a representative of smaller publishers, I can't change the distribution paradigm. I can believe in the Tooth Fairy and be all I want to be, but I can't change the paradigm. But I can and do work in and around it. I passionately believe that print and web and should work together and can sell each other - so, I just try to live in this brave new paradigm and hope the bean counters keep thinking I am worth keeping around.
(Submitted by a Newsstand Guy who was also recently reminded by upper senior executive level "my stocks worth more than yours" management that he, too, is overhead)

Re: BoSacks Readers Speak Out: Jobs, Mags, and our Future
In response to the "writer" who used to work for the Florida Times Union, I'm happy you are glad that you are now self employed. As a paper broker based in Jacksonville, Florida I stopped reading the FTU over five years ago. I will not even read their sports pages as it is by far the absolute worst paper published in the USA. I do subscribe and read the three newspapers that are delivered to my house each morning because they have CONTENT, something the FTU lacks. I'm really sorry for the folks that are out of work, but they should have also seen the writing on the wall . . .
(Submitted by a Paper Broker)

Re: And now, Grim Words from The Reaper
And some people also believe in Nostradamas' predictions. How many are on the list that haven't folded?
(Submitted by an Unknown)

Re: The Worst PR Debacle in History
I'm not saying that lead in toys is a good thing but if it's a real issue then shouldn't there would be hundreds of reports of lead poisoning from baby boomers who played with toys made in Japan and China from the 50's & 60's? Just thought I'd ask.
(Submitted by a Senior Production Manager)

RE: Envisioning the Next Chapter for Electronic Books
Bob, With Apple's release of iPod touch equipped with 802.11 b/g wi-fi, how much longer will it be before Apple launches iBook as a retail website instead of a computer? I usually listen to music while reading, I don't know if many others do too, but seems like a good combination to me.
(Submitted by a Corporate Director)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: New Research and Advisory Service for our Industry
Bob, Here's my take on the future of printed materials:
The publisher will need to target market their materials and get the consumer to pay for the content that they receive.

The printer will need to be able to manage the highly fragmented "list" by using a combination of digital and conventional print and custom personalization (mass customization).

The end result is a concert of email, direct mail & web based information that is useful to the consumer. The publisher and printer who figure out this recipe will be the only ones left standing at the end of the day.
(Submitted by a loyal reader/contributor and current man on the street)

Re: Media X: Life Story
AMEN brother! That's the first place I go to CNN. In regards to 9-11, I remember a whole group of us left the office in Burlington Ontario and went to a local restaurant and watched TV, the place was packed as other people were doing the same thing and there was not a noise coming from this restaurant as we all sat there with our faces turned to the TV and we sat in silence and occasionally we even heard a sob.
(Submitted by a Wholesaler Sales Manager)

Re: Media X: Life Story
I've spent most of my nearly 67 years teaching myself what to read and how
to read it. Sure, the Internet supplies a lot of garbage, but I don't have
to participate in the celebrity culture if I don't want to.

A big problem is illustrated by shooting themselves in the foot
recently because they couldn't resist a lousy pun with "General Petraeus or
Betray Us". They are basically amateurs who didn't have an editor to tell
them why they shouldn't do that. And we're back to the subject of mentors
again . . .
(Submitted by a retired writer & editor)

Re: Boston Globe Media launches "Lola"
Love the Kinks reference - great song. If only the mag would be as long lasting!!
(Submitted by a Senior Publication Consultant)

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