Archive for February 2009

Some Cheese for that Whine… Newspapers (Part 1): Changing Distribution

February 28, 2009

dog-newspaper-21I recently finished a series of “Some cheese for that whine” on the book industry. Now, it’s time to turn our focus to an arguably more doomed industry: the newspaper industry. There are a lot of major issues facing the news world today, and competing with the internet is among the most demanding.

The image of a young boy with a baseball cap, riding a bike with a satchel of newspapers is a pretty American image – but the movement toward digital media may mean no more newspaper boys, and no more having fido fetch the paper (though who gets to tell them they’re fired?)

Newspapers have been threatened before. They were said to be doomed with the birth of radio… and again with the birth of TV. However, this time is different.

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Mag Distributors : Way to go?

February 19, 2009

Most publishing people are probably aware, by this point, of the grand circus that is magazine distributing these days. Since Anderson News Co. and Source Interlink attempted to charge publishers an additional 7 cent surcharge per copy, there has been a lot of speculation, with Time Inc. going so far as to begin to set up a new network of wholesalers to handle distribution of it’s magazines.

Source then sued Time Inc. and other publishing and distribution companies, alleging the companies are trying to drive it out of business. Now according to Media Week, it appears that Source has signed a new multi-year agreement with Time Inc. that does not include the per copy surcharge. The article does not say if the contract includes some other charge or a charge that is not per-copy based.

The trouble here is with the current business plan for these distributors. They are in a seriously comprimised position – they need to be able to provide their customers with content, and need to receive that content from publishers. Without some serious negotiations, one way or another, these companies are in trouble.

A Publishing Brand

February 17, 2009

Today, I received my latest Borders Member email, and included a mention of the book Deeper, part of a series by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams, released earlier this month. None of that is significant, on it’s own. However, the first line of the ad for the book is, “From the publisher of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books come another series about a boy and the depths of evil.”

picture-3The idea that the book is being marketed to the Harry Potter audience is what caught my eye. Is Scholastic (probably one of the publishing companies best known to consumers as a brand, and therefore well positioned to try this) trying to brand their company? Traditionally, publishing companies have tried to brand books by author. The opening line of this ad  doesn’t NAME the publisher in question. So it is assuming that consumers either know who published Harry Potter, or that they don’t care but will buy from that publisher BECAUSE of what they’ve previously published.

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My Bright Idea

February 11, 2009

I’m hoping to launch a new blog later this year. It will be a women’s networking blog for young professional women. I’m hoping to do a soft launch in Dec. with a big launch in May 2010 (when college graduates enter the workforce).  The target demographic would be women who are about to graduate college and those who have recently graduated. Men have the ole boys club – the blog would offer the advice guys get by backslapping in a version for young women. I’m enlisting a bunch of friends as writers, and hope to set it up almost as an online magazine.

I want to launch my own site, and host it on mozilla’s ftp site (registering a website costs aprox. $10 – you can host it from a free ftp site, like the one mozilla offers). I’m researching how to profit from advertisers now – I have several companies in mind who would be perfect; but I’m not sure if I’d rather use something like Google’s adsense, or if it’d be better to do it myself. I have to read through the contract for adsense, and see if I can do a little bit of both.

The blog will include advice on how to do things like : start your own business (creating a business plan, getting a business license, etc), building a professional network (attending events, finding events, volunteering so you can attend for free), working on a resume, cover letter, etc, finding an apartment (what to look for, how to bargain about price, what the deal is with utilities), managing a personal budget, and MAYBE even some basic recipe info (though I don’t have a writer for this yet, so we’ll see…). I’m going to try and do all the things I mentioned above about getting it out there, and see what if I can build a good solid reader base.

From there, I’d eventually like to launch a digital magazine (see bluetoad.com) – and if that went well, maybe create a print magazine styled slightly after Pink Magazine (which has a magazine with a similar idea, for an older, more professionally established demographic – people who are a stage later in life then my audience).

Building Blocks of Blogs

February 11, 2009

Blogs are a hot item these days. Everyone seems to have one – or to want to have one. There are several things that should be considered, though, before you ‘roll out the presses’ – or, rather, don’t.
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The Facebook Fetish: Marketing for Free

February 4, 2009

I have often mentioned my view of social networking as a marketing tool; I have always thought it was ineffective and sort of pointless. Well, I’ve changed my mind. Recently we were discussing social networking in my publishing thesis class, and facebook and myspace came up. I raised the question, “Has anyone in here actually used facebook successfully as a marketing tool? Do you click through to ads, or is it a waste?”

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Can’t we all just be friends?

February 2, 2009

As a advocate of digital media, I wanted to stand up for ebooks and digital magazines. Before you think I’m unloyal to print products, I don’t necessarily think they need to compete – I think they can serve different needs in our everyday lives, and that there is a place for both digital and print products. I think like so many other things, new technology and the printed word are at opposite ends of a pendulum, and right now it is swinging toward digital, but eventually it will settle in the middle.

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