Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

02/01/2015

A Declining Market for Printer and Publisher Alike? Maybe, Maybe Not – But Changes Are Afoot


Boy on Toilet Reading Paper - f5a5fe54-5e44-45c0-accd-0af459edc30aAll of us are biased in some way. Most of our biases come from two root causes: One, our need to make a living and provide for our loved ones and family. And two, our comfort zone – which is created by our upbringing and what we are familiar with or used to – like mom’s home cooking or our workplace routine and procedures.

So, when our way of making a living is disrupted in some manner or our workplace routine is changing due to, say, newer technology that threatens our very existence and forces change, our ‘biases’ kick in. These biases are deeper in some than others and actually prevent those affected from more immediate acceptance of needed changes.

These types of biases are prevalent in the publishing industry today.

Tonight’s research article comes from BoSacks of The Precision Media Group.

Key excerpt: ‘The lineal, multi-article, traditional experience is changing to a non-lineal, three dimensional collection of editorial material organized by both humans and algorithms that change for the individual person by the second. Every editorial offering will be delivered as a unique and ever-changing personal assortment of information and entertainment. The only exception to these new rules of publishing will be books. They are exempt from this observation, as the book format demands traditional styled and numbered pages, be they print or digital.’

 

BoSacks Speaks Out: The Answer to Publishing’s Enigma of Survival

All of us show bias when it comes to what information we take in. We typically focus on anything that agrees with the outcome we want – Noreena Hertz

 

Many of the people who read this newsletter are in one way or another devoted to the process of print. Some of them are printers, some of them are publishers and most of them have a strong and deep bias, which is clearly and understandably centered around making a profitable living. In fact, we all, regardless of what our profession is, have a biased point of view that is skewed by our need to make a living. In this discussion, I am not in any way saying a bias is wrong, just that it exists and aids us in forming our opinions.

Actually this bias comes twofold. Not only is it based on our need to make a living and feed the family, but also to be in our comfort zone. This comfort zone is, for the most part, like Mom’s cooking. By that I mean that the things we learned early when we were growing up are filled with a nostalgia that makes us feel most comfortable with what we knew and experienced then, something along the lines of Mom’s cooking. If you didn’t grow up in an internet era your comfort in it is less than the screenager who has never experienced lack of instant access to any and all information.

My friend Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D. who is the founder and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism,

is filled with bias and exuberance about the printed magazine. He finds and counts every new magazine he can and declares the wonderfulness of the magazine business. His love and bias for the product is infectious and fun to watch. And it is the grand diversity of the ever diminishing magazine product that will continue to keep Samir and my printer friends busy for many years to come.

In fact most of my printer friends are doing quite well, even in an age where the printed magazine is in decline. And that is one of the main points of this essay. A fair and honest profit is still achievable in a greatly declining market for printer and publisher alike. I say bully for them that can continue to stay afloat and be at the top of their game when page counts are in a steady and predictable decline.

But, you knew there was a “but” coming, didn’t you? The majority of the reading public is leaving print behind. Even major magazine media associations are focused on the digital future of making a profit from reading and not on the ways in which we operated in the past.

I have said many times that print and printed magazines are not going to go away, but their numbers will increasingly become smaller. I am starting to think that the very format of the magazine whether print or digital is also in decreasing demand by the public.

Five years into the venture of offering digital magazines, Next Issue Media’s Morgan Guenther, the company’s chief executive officer says, “No one has heard of us.” Guenther suggests that the number of subscribers is “well into the hundreds of thousands.” I am very suspect of that comment and wonder, how much of those are actually paid by the consumer and how much of the “hundreds of thousands” are sponsored? We don’t know. It is surely worth reporting that Next Issue just raised $50 million from the private equity firm KKR and is preparing for a big marketing push. This will perhaps help, but I expect the resulting numbers to be underwhelming.

It seems that the mobile platform is increasingly the platform of choice for most readers, and it will continue to alter the future of the magazine format. The magazine industry will by necessity sell their product by the single article and not by the curated group of reading materials as in the past. The single article sales platform will include audio, video and reading components once known as articles. It is possible to foresee subscriptions to total niches that include articles from multiple publishing sources and not the traditional magazine concept. This would align with formats like Google news, a listing of articles from multiple publishers offered as a one source shopping spot for news, entertainment, and instructional/enthusiast “articles”.

So, now back to the bias discussion. Is it possible that we publishers have a bias for the format of a traditional magazine? In the 21st century is it possible that curation of reading materials will be distributed in an other than the old-style magazine format? From my observations that seems to be a strongly developing trend.

Take your pick from Facebook to Buzzfeed, from Circa to Upworthy, from Printerest to the web pages of People and Time – these reading experiences are not formatted as traditional magazines. Facebook has a billion people reading without pagination as we understand it. There are indeed pages in those reading platforms, but not a single folio.

These observations do not in any way sound a death knell for print or for printed magazines. But they are a suggestion that the predominant way we will read and gather information is not only digital, but unhinged from the concept of continuous pages. Is it possible to imagine that, for the most part, the public’s reading will not be as our forefathers read?

The lineal, multi-article, traditional experience is changing to a non-lineal, three dimensional collection of editorial material organized by both humans and algorithms that change for the individual person by the second. Every editorial offering will be delivered as a unique and ever-changing personal assortment of information and entertainment. The only exception to these new rules of publishing will be books. They are exempt from this observation, as the book format demands traditional styled and numbered pages, be they print or digital.

 

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07/12/2011

Tablet, E-Reader Addicts Also Want Print


Printed Books Still Desired

This is not surprising to me at all … I have posted many times RE the NON-demise of the printed word.

John’s Note: I tried to link to all past posts on ‘printed word’ or ‘print’ but WordPress is giving me trouble tonight! Just go to the “search this site button” at top of this page and enter ‘print’ for my past discussions. 

Oh, the printed word has definitely gone through changes … but, think about it … these changes were brought about by what? Why, the ‘printed’ word itself, of course … only in a different format (digital), that’s all.

A study on this very issue is presented in an article for FOLIO Magazine by Executive Editor Matt Kinsman:

Study Says Tablet, E-Reader Users Haven’t Given Up Print

Few magazine apps in the App Store don’t have at least one reviewer clamoring for a subscription package that bundles print and app, and now a new study from GfK MRI suggests that rather than abandoning old media, tablet and e-reader users might still be print’s best audience.

John’s Note: By the way GfK means ‘Growth from Knowledge’ and MRI means ‘Mediamark Research and Intelligence’

According to the study, tablet owners are 66 percent more likely than the average U.S. adult to be heavy users of printed versions of magazines, while e-reader owners are 23 percent more likely to be heavy print users.

The study also says men are more likely to own tablets while women are more likely to own e-readers (although I still dig my Kindle and I’ll arm-wrestle anyone at GfK MRI or Yudu who makes fun of me).

Read and learn more

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05/28/2011

Espresso Printed Books…Instantly at Point of Sale!


I have posted many times RE my belief that the rapid developing new digital publishing technology would also spur new streamlined print technology tangentially.

One aspect of the new print tech is here and sold by On Demand Books.

Customers enter a brick-and-mortar store, or in some cases a library, and purchase any book from On Demand’s massive catalog of public domain and copyrighted titles, pay for the title, and walk out with a fully-bound, professional-quality paperback print copy of the book.”

You like printed books? Get yours here…And now…At your command.

This from Good eReader by Mercy Pilkington:

OnDemand Books Provides the Technology to Run Digital Publishing

Dane Neller, CEO of On Demand Books, which produces the software and machinery for the Espresso Book Machine, had a specific goal in mind for the BookExpo America 2011 event: to convince publishers that giving customers and book retailers the power to print any of its almost 7 million titles directly at the point of sale was a good idea.

“BookExpo was everything we hoped, it was a very promising three days. We met with a lot of publishers who are now on board with the idea of releasing their titles to our catalog for immediate sale to customers,” says Neller of On Demand’s presence at BookExpo.

It shouldn’t have been a hard sell. Customers enter a brick-and-mortar store, or in some cases a library, and purchase any book from On Demand’s massive catalog of public domain and copyrighted titles, pay for the title, and walk out with a fully-bound, professional-quality paperback print copy of the book. Yet there have been publishers who are reluctant to release their titles to print-on-demand technology, largely due to the relationships they maintain with their printing houses. Another hurdle to leap is the fact that publishers set a suggested retail price for books and the booksellers set the actual price’ On Demand simply makes the technology available without getting involved in the politics of setting price points.

But On Demand’s Espresso Book Machine is a win-win for publishers, booksellers, authors, and readers. The publisher chalks up another sale, the book store can push high-interest product without losing valuable shelf space to stagnant inventory, the author comes away with another happy member of his fan base, and the reader gets a great book.

Read and learn more

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10/01/2010

The Association of Magazine Media


The main (and probably the oldest – est. 1919) professional association for magazine publishers is the Magazine Publishers of American (MPA).

Well, they have just changed their name to The Association of Magazine Media…which they still abbreviate or accronym as MPA?!

Why don’t they just use AMM for Association of Magazine Media?

The reasoning for the new name, they say, is to get away from the words “print” and “publishing” which they figure are dead to the younger generation.

What a cluster muck of thinking! For one, they are still publishers regardless of the media format and secondly, print is not going away (changing yes, but not dying); on the contrary new print tech is here and more surprises are coming in print media.

This report from Reuters by Robert MacMillan:

They’ll always be the Magazine Publishers of America to me

The Magazine Publishers of America said on Friday that it is renaming itself the MPA — The Association of Magazine Media. The notable difference is the omission of the word publishers. Why?

“MPA is underscoring the fact that magazine media content engages consumers globally across multiple platforms, including websites, tablets, smartphones, books, live events and more.”

“More” presumably means “printed magazines,” but nobody in media is all that hot on associating themselves with words like “publish” and “print” because to young people (or young “consumers” in the parlance that people use when their sole desire is to make money from you) and investors those words smell like death.

When magazine publishers like Conde Nast and newspaper publishers like Advance Publications (like Conde Nast, owned by the Newhouses) have been forced to cut hundreds if not thousands of jobs and stop publishing some of their products, it doesn’t do much good in the public relations department to accentuate the part of your business that is fading, even if it still produces 80 to 90 percent of your revenue. Fortunately, Time Inc CEO and incoming MPA Chairman Jack Griffin manages to refer in passing to “print” one time in the press release quote.

Read more http://alturl.com/d6zrd

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