Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


75 Yr. Old Yankee Magazine Lives on Subscription $$ Over Ad $$

The venerable old Yankee magazine has always stayed ahead of the power curve and continues to do so in this cluster-muck era in the publishing industry.

Contrary to it’s old-fashioned image, Yankee adopted online content way back in the 1990’s and was one of the first, if not the first, consumer mag to offer monthly podcasts back in 2000.

James Sullivan of the Boston Globe offers this picturesque account of Yankee magazine:

Yankee Ingenuity

Robb Sagendorph was a classic Yankee. Frugal and self-sufficient, committed to tradition — and more than a little cranky — he personified the New Englander he hoped to reach when he founded Yankee magazine in 1935.

The tall, dour Sagendorph, who died in 1970, wasn’t exactly prone to fits of laughter. Today, however, there is plenty of good cheer in the halls of the old red barn that still houses his magazine, across from town hall and the hilltop flagpole in this picturesque hamlet.

With its September-October issue, Yankee is celebrating its 75th anniversary. More importantly, the staff is buoyed by the feeling that it is better poised than most magazines to weather the publishing industry’s uncertain future.

In contrast to its old-fashioned image, Yankee was an early adopter of online content, way back in the 1990s. For the 75th anniversary year, the magazine has been publishing a favorite feature from its archives on its website every weekday.

And its inverted business model — the magazine has always relied on subscription fees more than advertising dollars — finds it once again ahead of the curve, as others struggle with dwindling ad sales.

Still publishing features on getaways, design, and home cooking, Yankee has moved away from the historic yarns and short fiction that once defined it.

More readers are now browsers than cover-to-cover types, said Jamie Trowbridge, 50, chief executive officer of Yankee Publishing (and Sagendorph’s grandson).

“We’re still literary, but we don’t print literature,’’ he said.

“People are always saying print is dead. In fact, it hasn’t declined much. What is declining is advertising support.’’

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