Sunday, September 16, 2007

BoSacks Speaks Out: Words on The Street

BoSacks Speaks Out: Words on The Street

This is brilliant. Here is a note from our friends up north about the Canadian magazine industry promoting itself and the act of reading simultaneously. It is simple. It is cheap. It is elegant and has a small touch of genius. How are they doing that?

With the very product that they distribute. In this blog from Canada is a terrific idea that our own MPA should take and run with. Forget the misplaced, absurd, tired and old 40 million dollar boondoggle of a marketing plan. The MPA should create a magazine traveling road show. Open it up to any and all publishers. The big and the small. Mr. and Ms. Publisher you want readers? Here is a good idea . . . Go out and get them.

"Success is more a function of consistent common sense than it is of genius."
An Wang quotes (Chinese born American Computer engineer and Inventor, 1920-1990)

Word on the Street, where magazines come out to meet the public
In most places in Canada, the end of September has a crisp feel of autumn about it, which is ideal for Word on the Street (though Toronto can sometimes surprise with a heat wave). And this annual celebration of the written word (now in its 18th year) seems to have become an important part of marketing consumer magazines in this country -- both selling subs and single copies and raising brand awareness among the general public.

Visitors can number in the thousands in smaller venues (Kitchener and Halifax) and in the tens of thousands in Vancouver and Toronto. While they're there for books and readings and other events, too, it's a great place for magazine staffers to meet the public, maybe sell or give away those back issues, get those sub cards into eager hands and generally feel good about what they do.

The event is a little different from place to place. Only in Vancouver, for instance, is there a "magazine mews" on Howe Street, where magazine booths are clustered together. Only in Toronto do the big guys, Rogers and Transcontinental, set up shop. In some places it is really on a city street, in others it is in a more parklike setting (Queen's Park in Toronto, Victoria Park in Kitchener). Curiously, there are some major cities where it hasn't taken yet, like Ottawa and Montreal and Winnipeg and Regina, Calgary, St. John's and Saint John.

What's amazing is that even more magazines don't make the effort, taking advantage of the national promotion and aggressively associating themselves with the event. We have heard that some magazines find writers, sell subs and make friends in a way that hard to replicate. There's a modest cost for a booth, but some magazines split this with another title.

Just for interest, here are the magazines and magazine-related organizations and companies that we found were registered as of today (more are likely to come) in the various places across the country.

Halifax (September 23)
Atlantic Magazine Association
Magazines Canada
The Walrus

Kitchener (September 30)
The New Quarterly
Alternatives Journal
Canadian Humanist
Vida Latina Magazine

Toronto (September 30)
Alternatives Journal
Ascent magazine
Brick, a literary journal
Broken Pencil
Canadian Art
Canadian Geographic
Canadian Newcomer Chart magazine
Eye Weekly
Ideas: Arts & Sciences Review
Kiss Machine
Literary Review of Canada
Magazines Canada
Moorshead Magazines
Musicworks magazine
New Internationalist
NOW magazine
Owl & Chickadee
Rogers Publishing
SkyNews Spacing
Taddle Creek
The Magazine
The New Quarterly
The Walrus Foundation
This Magazine
Transcontinental Media
What's Up Kids Family Magazine

Calgary (September 30)
Calgary Inc. Avenue Magazine
The Walrus Foundation
Magazines Canada
Venture Publishing (Alberta Venture, Unlimited)

Vancouver (September 30)
alive magazine
British Columbia Association of Magazine Publishers
British Columbia Magazine
CJC: Canadian Journal of Communications
Dance International
FRONT Magazine
Geist magazine,
Homes & Living Magazine
Humanist Perspectives
Magazines Canada
Pacific Rim Magazine Ricepaper Room
subTerrain magazine
Vancouver Review
The Walrus
Watershed Sentinel

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