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Thread: Print publishing death watch

  1. #16
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    niche mags are weird

    And doug is right - women do poorly on our cover. Old Chinese guys do great. That's the thing about niche mags - our readership is specific.

    Ads are about the same, but given that we are driven by our own retail, we don't carry a lot of competitors ads. How the economy is affecting our retail is a different matter entirely.

    Nevertheless, I'm hoping for that niche mag bump... I'm hoping...

    The niche magazines riding out the gloom
    By Charlotte Philby
    Monday, 16 February 2009

    Something is happening in the West End of London. It’s a brisk morning in Covent Garden, and while business is slow at the boutiques and cafés, an impressive number of shoppers are finding their way towards the doors of the specialist bookstore Magma.

    Inside, browsers gather before a great wall of magazines, about 80 titles – obscure fashion glossies beside self-published literary reviews. At the till, a rakish Scandinavian man hands the Muslim fashion journal MSLM to the cashier, while his partner peruses the children’s lifestyle manual Milk.

    For many reasons, this doesn’t make sense – not least because we’re in the throes of a recession, the banks are teetering on the brink of collapse and, along with so many industries, the magazine market is in crisis. Isn’t it?

    According to the bi-annual report from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, released last Thursday, magazine sales in the UK are indeed down. But, while many publications are struggling to survive in this economic chill, certain areas are bucking the trend – not least, a wave of emerging titles.

    Sales of self-published, niche-interest magazines are thriving, according |to the assistant buyer |for Magma, Kate John. “These magazines exist apart from the mainstream,” she says. “When something is produced |as a work of passion, customers feel passionately about the product. As |a result, there is a constant audience.”

    The independently funded “tattoo/crossover” journal Sang Bleu is an example. “A labour of love,” according to its creator, it is now in its third edition and boasts a fiercely loyal fan-base. It would have to: the latest copy – a 600-page double issue – costs £33 a pop, a pretty hefty sum by any standards. And yet it’s selling.

    The title’s translation from French – “blue blood” – is not only a reference to one of the magazine’s main themes, tattoos. Sang Bleu’s founder and art director, 30-year-old Maxime Buechi, reveals a further relevance: “This magazine is essentially about the invasion of temporary, ‘underground’ cultures, some fetishist. Sang Bleu is making the statement that these are not vile things, as perceived by parts of established society. These are important subjects, and they deserve to be seen as noble.”

    Whatever his message, Buechi is clearly not alone in his opinion. His magazine has sold 10,000 copies per issue so far, and four have been published. What’s the secret? “Sang Bleu touches people living between cultures, those who aren’t addressed by other media. People who buy the magazine need things like this. It’s not a commodity, it’s a voice.”

    The idea of representation is significant, but it is the tone as much as the voice that is important. Philip Diprose set up the fixed-gear cycling magazine The Ride with his brother Andrew and friend Dean Taylor in order to complement, not compete with, existing cycling publications.

    “Of what was available, nothing spoke to us,” says Diprose, 34. “We appreciate what they offer, but we are interested in the experience of cycling. Other magazines do reviews and products, but we wanted to address the soulful aspect.” The aesthetic was important, too, so Diprose enlisted a design team who were also cycling enthusiasts to create an ethereal cover illustration.

    Nurturing a relationship with the cycling community was a primary objective. “Everyone who contributes to The Ride has a keen interest in cycling. Technology enables us to reach enthusiasts across the world.” |

    A significant community there is, too. Only one issue of The Ride has been published so far, and 2,000 copies – at £7 each – sold out in six weeks. There were internet sales in Honolulu, Malaysia, Africa and beyond.

    UK-based FUN magazine is also making a stir worldwide. Distributed in targeted bars, cinemas and shops across Europe and the US, this is essentially a satirical cult rag, with a clean, thoughtful design. The independently funded project has a fast-growing niche following. It is a free publication in several senses: it doesn’t cost readers a penny, and carries no advertising so can say whatever it wants. The integrity that comes with this is fundamental |to its appeal.

    “We are answerable to no one except our consciences,” says co-founder, Ben Freeman, 30, who is responsible for editorial, while his partner, Deano Jo, 22, oversees publishing. FUN gathers content from established journalists who, under pseudonyms, address issues that have no other platform. So far, interviewees have included the BNP’s first elected member of the London Assembly, Richard Barnbrook, and the UK head |of the Chinese Falun |Gong movement.

    Now in its third (quarterly issue), FUN has a DIY approach to getting things done. “Deano and I share the attitude that if you want to do something, you can’t sit around and wait for it to come to you,” Freeman says. “Rather than worrying about demographics, target audiences and business plans, we just got on with it.” The appeal of FUN lies in its uncompromising approach to issues sidelined or ignored in mainstream media, according to its fans, and this relies on its independence.

    So could it be that we are witnessing the dawn of a new media age, where ideals and passion trump financial targets and cynical boardroom tactics, a brave new world that finds the little men beating the fat cats at their own game? Perhaps not. Maybe this is just another cycle of naive idealists, doomed eventually to succumb to the lure of advertising.

    But one thing is for sure; for the moment, these guys are not feeling the pinch. And that, at least, is something to celebrate.
    I don't think raising our price to £33 ($47) would help...
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  2. #17
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    gene if you put my sexy picture on the cover in the sports bra with doug pile driving me through some bricks, i gaurentee you will sell 1 million issues.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho Mantis View Post
    Genes too busy rocking the gang and scarfing down bags of cheetos while beating it to nacho ninjettes and laughing at the ridiculous posts on the kfforum. In a horse stance of course.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaolinlueb View Post
    gene if you put my sexy picture on the cover in the sports bra with doug pile driving me through some bricks, i gaurentee you will sell 1 million issues.
    im down, you can pay us in nacho ninjettes!!!!!

  4. #19
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    sweet. but we probably have to write an article to go along with it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho Mantis View Post
    Genes too busy rocking the gang and scarfing down bags of cheetos while beating it to nacho ninjettes and laughing at the ridiculous posts on the kfforum. In a horse stance of course.

  5. #20
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    Controversy always sells mags so here are my 2 ideas:
    1 - An artcle titled "Why non-Chinese Arts Suck Really Bad"
    or
    2 - Printing all the flamewars that occur on this forum.
    ------
    Jason

    --Keep talking and I'm gonna serve you dinner...by opening up a can of "whoop-ass" and for dessert, a slice of Lama Pai!

    God gave us free will. Therefore he is pro-choice.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenCloudCLF View Post
    Controversy always sells mags so here are my 2 ideas:
    1 - An artcle titled "Why non-Chinese Arts Suck Really Bad"
    or
    2 - Printing all the flamewars that occur on this forum.
    hahaha. people would become super stars overnight man.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho Mantis View Post
    Genes too busy rocking the gang and scarfing down bags of cheetos while beating it to nacho ninjettes and laughing at the ridiculous posts on the kfforum. In a horse stance of course.

  7. #22

    AnCo forced into Chapt. 7

    Hi Gene,
    Wow, I had not been following the distributors case. Looks very bad for Anderson. See this Publishers Weekly piece from a few days ago:

    http://www.publishersweekly.com/arti...&rid=468490239

    Yikes, what are "we" doing to do?

    take care,
    Brian

  8. #23
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    That's funny, I thought I posted something here about AnCo

    The AnCo closing has rocked the magazine publishing world. Some say it's the harbinger of the coming print apocalypse.

    Here's an update of the situation.

    The News Group Moves Forward After Anderson News Acquisition
    TNG president described process as "a major undertaking."
    By Chandra Johnson-Greene
    Wednesday, March 25, 2009

    At the 2009 MPA Retail Conference on Monday, News Group president David Parry outlined the company’s acquisition of assets belonging to Anderson News, which was forced to shut down its magazine distribution operation in February. Anderson’s exit from the market created a distribution nightmare that the supply chain is still digging out of. Parry described just how chaotic the scene had become.

    Anderson, which co-owned the Prologix distribution service with The News Group, shut down its operation on February 7. Two weeks later, News Group made the decision to buy Anderson’s assets.

    Parry said that the company wanted to find a way to get business back up and running in a responsible fashion. “We could have easily taken our time and opened new centers, or we could acquire assets from Anderson,” he said. “It wasn’t until Feb. 20 that we decided to take possession of most of their assets and begin the process of interviewing employees.”

    Parry told attendees that the conditions were dire when they walked into Anderson’s warehouses. “It was about finding product inbound on trucks and in warehouses in return processing rooms,” he said. “There was product outbound too. And about 20 percent of that product was encumbered, and we could not find a distributor to do anything with it. So we had to process all of the product out, and return it using specific standards in order to get the distribution system to where it was able to report. It was a major undertaking.”

    In order to accommodate the acquisition of distribution centers from Anderson, Parry says that The News Group interviewed and hired 3,800 people (it is unclear if any of these employees are from Anderson News), purchased 1,300 trucks and acquired 15 distribution centers and 50 depots to serve its retail customers and suppliers.

    With the new infrastructure created, The News Group now has 27 distribution centers, 8,600 employees, 2,500 trucks and 120 depots between its five separate ownership groups, which together, Parry said, operate in markets representing about 90 percent of the population of the continental U.S. and Alaska.

    “That claim is a little high since they don’t have locations in the population dense Northeast,” John Harrington, publisher of the New Single Copy newsletter, wrote in an email to AD. Harrington estimates that The News Group currently has approximately 40-45 percent of the magazine market share, but it would be a while before the company's market share could be accurately measured.

    Parry told attendees that The News Group would now focus on investing in category management, the professional development of its employees and getting the product to flow. “We need to get product flowing,” he says. “We’re 100 percent up and ready to go, but we need to the right product shipped out to the right places as soon as possible. Our retail customers have suffered heavily since Feb. 7. Consumers have come in expecting to find their favorite magazines, and retailers have been unable to deliver, so we need your help.”
    This is one among many reasons why we've launched our facebook and myspace sites.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  9. #24
    Gene,
    I hope Kung Fu Taiji print magazine has a long and healthy life. I personally do not like reading things off the internet, if nothing else I find it hard on my eyes and I view things on the internet as kind of....well not as good as print media.

    But laying all that aside, has Kung Fu Taiji magazine laid out a specific plan for the future. I presume there is some financial cut off point where the owners decide we can no longer support a print magazine and we are going to cut it.

    If I understand the business correctly it happens in these phases:
    1. cut out news stand distribution but keep print magazine for mail subscribers
    2. cut out all print version of magazine switch to (and here is where I get unsure)..
    a. subscription electronic magazine (these are very uncommon right?---except for porn few people pay for web magazines--true?)
    b. free online magazine.

    If it ends up being "b." then does Kung Fu Taiji basically turn into a blog. Will content be posted at random or daily times or will there still be the idea of "issues" for example the October issue, the November issue?

    I realize some of this maybe too delicate to talk about in public, but I was just wondering.

    take care,
    Brian the Older Print media fan

  10. #25
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    Well I just renewed my subscription, that should help.

    I love my kwoon so much, I may just give my sifu and gift buy an ad for the school. Depends on how my bonus works out this June.
    Master of Shaolin I-Ching Bu Ti, GunGoPow and I Hung Wei Lo styles.

    I am seeking sparring partner. Any level. Looking for blondes or redhead. 5'2" to 5'9". Between 115-135 weight class. Females between 17-30 only need apply. Will extensively work on grappling.

  11. #26
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    I'm a fan of print too...

    ...and it kills me that the world is going through this transition during my watch here at Kung Fu Tai Chi. To be honest, this is completely uncharted territory. Every morning, I read my ever dwindling newspaper (the newspapers are bleeding money faster than the magazines so they're drying up first). Then I read my e-news feeds as I look over the forum here. I'm on some publishing newsfeeds which I read avidly. Unfortunately, the big guns in publishing have no answers either. If I had an answer, I'd be advising Time or Rolling Stone or some publication that would pay well for such an answer.

    Meanwhile, here, we trod on...
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  12. #27
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    another one bites the dust

    RIP Maxim UK.

    Beer, babes and good-bye for UK Maxim
    Sir Felix is closing the print edition of the title
    By Louisa Ada Seltzer
    Apr 2, 2009

    The concept was nifty, playing upon the scruffy tastes of Britain's young men, and Felix Dennis did so well at it that many think he invented the entire laddie category of men's magazines when he launched Maxim in 1995.

    In truth, it was already booming. Dennis just gave it more oomph with features on beer, babes and bathroom humor.

    Now it's over.

    The original Maxim is folding, it was announced today in London, its legacy living on as a web site. The last print issue goes out later this month. In its place on UK newsstands will appear the American edition, launched in 1997, which Dennis sold off several years ago.

    At its peak in 2000, the UK Maxim reported a circulation of more than 300,000 but by late last year that had shrunk to under 50,000.

    It was a slow but sure decline for the title, as well as for so many similar titles, trailing down each year as more and more young men moved online.

    “The community that buys those magazines is moving to the internet,” Lorna Tilbian, media analyst at Numis Securities, a London investment bank, told Media Life almost two years ago. And by then circulation for men's title was already tumbling, falling 14.4 percent in the second half of 2006. Hardest hit were the lad titles.

    But other forces were at work as well.

    There was a flush of new titles, many weeklies, that overcrowded the market, making a shakeout inevitable. Almost all have seen their circulations tumble.

    The few magazines to report gains were more upscale, traditional men's titles like Men’s Health and GQ, which remained above the fray.

    But also hurting lad titles like Maxim was the rise more recently of free men's titles with far larger circulations, such as Sport and ShortList.

    As freebies, handed out at train stations and the like, they didn't need to run racy covers to drive sales, making them more appealing to advertisers as well as readers.

    The lads craze in the U.S. market has similarly ended. Maxim is still published but ad pages are well down. Sister title Stuff and arch-rival FHM folded two years ago.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  13. #28
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    getting harder and harder with print mags, considering everything is moving online. so everybody keep buying kung fu magazine. its the only REAL kung fu mag there is now. i just saw the inside kung fu magazine and the whole mag is about mma. not kung fu. they are using a cheaper printing paper now, which says alot, about there circulation.

  14. #29
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    Wecome to the depression, the whole world is going throuh this, every bussiness there is, is doing their best to survive, it's not a " fun ride", however, one must face this with a positive attitude.

    When this depression ends, those that pull through it will be much stronger, my parents went through the first one and it was much worst, yet similar, the world will learn from this.

    The newspapers are hurting very much, your right, with the Internet, TV, ect. it makes it " tuff", but on the bright side, local news is covered more in local newsapaers, and, locals love to read the opinions of their neighbors, community and stuff they write themselves such as letters to the editor or as in the case of Kung Fu Tai Chi - the letter section, and, all the local events in all areas.

    Speaking of KF Tai Chi Magazine , it is excellent , very well done. The May/June issue is a fine example of your work Gene. The article about Patrick Barry, The Beijing Opera, and The Traditional 5 Animal Frolics is a classic. I have been buying Martail Arts magazine since they came out, I keep them all, and over the past decades your work is paying off. Black Belt is doing well also, however ISKF is getting thinner and less attractive.

    If you are a Martail Artist you owe it to yourself to subscribe to KF Tai Chi Magazine. If you buy supplies, you owe it to yourself to deal with Tiger Claw. These are honest, good reliable people.

    Keep up the good work Gene and fellows, dig in and support Gene and Tiger Claw, those that pull together make themselves stronger, and that is what it will take.

    My best to you

    Ron Shewamekr
    Visit the past in order to discover something new.

    [url]http://wahquekungfu.proboards100.com

  15. #30
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    The canary is dead and we're still in the coal mine...

    I started this thread for several reasons. One was to make the changes in the newsstand industry very transparent. I had been a freelance writer for magazines for nearly a decade before I took on this position and I didn't have the slightest idea how magazine distribution worked. Now I'm painfully aware of it. Having the industry collapse during my watch here at this institution we call Kung Fu Tai Chi is not only a professional challenge. It's very personal. I love print. And I love martial arts. So I'm digging in as deeply as I can, hoping to weather this storm.

    Now, more then ever, we need your support. Of course, you can always support us through subscriptions. It's also crucial that you support us on the newsstands. This can be done not only by purchasing our magazine on the newsstands yourself, but encouraging others to do so. Thank you for your continued support.

    Much Still To Be Done with the Newsstand Supply Chain
    Anderson was the quake, now for the aftershocks.
    By Linda Ruth
    04/13/2009 -03:33 PM

    The drama is far from over. If the Anderson News bankruptcy was a massive earthquake in our business—and that is certainly what it felt like—then the aftershocks are barely beginning to be felt. We’ll be feeling them for quite some time.

    Despite all the heroic efforts of the national distributors and the remaining wholesalers to make a smooth, clean, and invisible transition of distribution from Anderson News, the sheer logistics of picking up all the retail outlets and providing them with the correct number of copies for thousands of magazines overwhelmed the system. And that’s just with the Anderson News bankruptcy. This doens't take into account the massive number of copies in distribution that were moved from Source Interlink and then back again.

    In the course of all of this there were empty warehouses and magazines left on the docks; there were publications sitting in trucks awaiting direction before being re-labeled and re-directed. There were stores caught in the middle, without returns pickup from Anderson, without (yet) delivery from anyone else.

    What this means for magazine publishers is budget adjustments. We have all known that, and been prepared for it for some time. The question is, how big an adjustment, and for how long? We’re still hearing about new agreements between major retail chains and remaining wholesale agencies. There were a couple that came through just last week. The people on the front lines—the national distributor field people for the most part—are up to their ears in distribution work. They expect to continue to be so for weeks.

    The point is, distributions are still affected, today and tomorrow as well as yesterday. Every copy has not yet fallen smoothly into place. No surprise, but important to remember.

    And what about the sales information for the copies that were out there when this hit? Anderson News Company has provided MagNet, the consolidator of wholesaler information, with an information feed up through their last day in business. MagNet is confident that their store-mapping system will be able to accurately apply the returns and track the sales. Let’s hope their confidence is justified—from MagNet’s lips to God’s ears!

    Magazine publishers, in the meantime, need to take these steps:
    • Reduce your allotments where necessary—while a massive amount of your business has been transitioned, it's not over yet. That work is still going on.

    • Be prepared for returns hits, which will inevitably be larger than usual. Some of your product didn’t make it to the stores. Some got sent to the wrong stores, or in the wrong quantities. Some got out there, but late. Account for these inevitabilities in your re-projections.

    • Be prepared, as well, to question unusually high returns. It will be a miracle if some of those returns aren’t misapplied or counted twice.

    We will get through this in time. But for the sake of our planning, we need to remember: We’re not through it yet.

    Linda Ruth is Principal of Publisher Single Copy Sales Services (SingleCopySales.com).
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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