Out of Print, Out of Mind
Another printed product, Vibe magazine, has bit the dust. According to minonline.com, the publication that debuted in 1993 with the backing of music legend Quincy Jones, perished under different ownership due to a slump in print advertising and the ongoing recession. Jones told another pub that he plans to buy the brand back and take it online.
Of all the reasons that are bandied around in support of maintaining the printed edition, No. 1 is visibility. If you cannot justify the hard copy production of a title, it says here that "going online" isn't going to do you a damn bit of good.
I used to receive an outdoors magazine at home, targeting consumers of a certain product. The mag wasn't exactly my cup of tea, but the photography was excellent and I would peruse the articles here and there. A few months ago, the editor's note stated that in order to save on production costs, the magazine was turning to the Internet only. I have not and will not follow it online because, frankly, I won't remember to do so. Out of sight, out of mind.
Of the magazines I've subscribed to currently or in the past, very rarely have I visited their Websites to read content. Maybe I'll receive an e-mail offer that drags me to the site, but it's often a short-lived experience. Then again, when your inbox is burgeoning with dozens of other e-missives, it's easy for that notification to get chucked out with the spam.
I've always felt that the best reminder of a magazine's latest issue is the pub itself sitting on the edge of my kitchen island. That's where my wife leaves it, without fail, and when I'm ready to read the the issue, it's there waiting for me...without fail. That consistency keeps me coming back. And I do look at the ads and sometimes purchase items based upon the offers. Online...nope.
This phenomenon could well be a generational thing. Perhaps the 21st century readership, people like my 10-year-old son, won't feel the same affinity for printed publications that I do, though he already has two hard copy subscriptions. Sean gets a thrill out of finding his Pokemon magazine in the mail and, I'm proud to say, he's figured out when the book mails.
Without the constancy of a printed product, how long can an e-pub expect to maintain (read: bring over) its readership? As more and more applications vie for our logged-on hours, the magazine may be better off staying put in its current form—on paper and in your hands.
Am I kidding myself? If so, what is the paperless e-zine driver going forward?
OFF TOPIC: OK, with unemployment at 9.6 percent, there are a lot of people out there combing the want ads. But you might be able to help me with one particular situation. There's an old amigo I grew up with who has vast experience as a buyer in several industries, but she's been out of work for much of the year. She'd like to stay in the game, local to her Philadelphia/Delaware Valley roots. If you or any of your clients are in need of such an employee, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can furnish details of her work history.