Business Equation Doesn’t Ad Up

After more than 80 years, one of our oldest rivals, Graphic Arts Monthly (GAM), has ceased publication. Its last day of existence was officially April 30. Its parent, Reed Business (RBI), decided not to sell the publication, which will now go quietly into that good night.

As a journalist and as a reader of magazines, I find it painful when a publication I’ve long followed bites the dust. Or changes its format — not size, but editorial direction. When this happened one time with another publication, I called circulation, told them I was dropping my ‘script, then spent a minute or two recounting how the magazine I loved was going to crap. Of course, the circ woman was probably rolling her eyes and playing Tetris, but it made me feel better.

It behooves you, the printer, print buyer or industry vendor, to be reading all of the major titles that speak to your business. Heck, even the ancillary pubs should be sitting on your desk. After all, they’re free to those who qualify. And when you think about it, GAM’s demise is somewhat your fault; it’s all our faults.

We don’t charge for content, thus all of our fortunes are tied into advertising revenue. Clearly, the industry could not support three major titles from an ad standpoint. Would a $49.95 per year subscription price have saved GAM? That would’ve given them about $3.5 million a year extra, no small peanuts in the B2B game.

But that’s not how the game is played, is it? And frankly, the rules aren’t about to change. You would scream bloody murder at the thought of forking over what amounts to $4 a month to read GAM or anything else. It’s in your blood to deny cost increases, even the most reasonable or nominal of fees.

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