Print Deathwatch: Magazines, Newspapers

Its farewell to magazines that quit print under pressure from recession and digital media. Some brands continue online, but many do not.

eMarketer Sounds Death Knell for Newspapers
US newspaper ad revenues are expected to drop 42.5% in the next seven years, signaling a death spiral for the medium as readership moves online and to more real-time, interactive venues, according to a report from eMarketer. In its report, “Newspapers in Crisis: Migrating Online,” the research firm estimates that newspaper advertising revenues dropped 16.4% to $37.9 billion in 2008 and expects that by 2012, those revenues will tumble to $28.4 billion – slightly more than one-half the industry’s revenue peak of $49.4 billion in 2005.


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Newspapers: LA Times, New York Times

A year and a half ago, Jason Oberfest, who was then the head of Product Strategy and Business Development at the LA Times, told an audience at PSFK Conference Los Angeles about the major changes that the paper was making to address changes in publishing in order to become a leader in the new media space. It looks like those changes have taken effect: the editor of the Los Angeles Times, Russ Stanton, has announced that the paper’s online advertising revenue is now sufficient to cover the cost of the LA Times’s editorial team – for both print and online.
LA Times

Could the New York Times go under?
It seems the unthinkable, but some media commentators are speculating whether The New York Times could go under. A piece in the Observer yesterday put the spotlight on the Grey Lady, which is saddled with debts, a hugely expensive news operation and the cost of an expensive new building on Manhattan‘s 42nd Street. All of that would be a strain at the best of times, but as the US newspaper industry buckles under the enormous strain of the downturn these problems are all hugely exacerbated.

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I am an avid reader, and have a particular weakness for second hand bookstores (“fascinating” I hear you cry) … I can’t seem to pass by one without picking up a bargain. This has yielded both unexpected success and disappointing failure. In both cases said tomes end up residing somewhere on a bookshelf in my house. The net result of this is that I now have far too many books, a fact that was brought home to me in the past month. We are currently remodeling our home, and in preparation I spent what seemed like a whole day packing paperback and hardback books into boxes and then lugging them down the cellar. (Add in my wife’s large format design books and that’s a backache right there). There are now several teetering towers of book boxes taking up one whole end of said cellar. I decided something had to change (so first off, look out for many of my books on Amazon/ thrift stores/ my street in the coming months) but I also decided that I need a new way to read without acquiring mounds of paperbacks. Here’s what I found …

flying books

First off, the public library obviously can’t be beat. But there are other options out there, too, that can keep my acquisitive reading habit in check.For eco-friendly, instant-gratification, new millenial reading, there is obviously the Kindle (though – in a chronic piece of mismanagement by Amazon – it’s sold out at least until February 2009).

I have also found pay services such as BookSwim (inevitably: Netflix for book lovers), which allows you to hold paperbacks or hard covers for as long as you want. What’s not to like? Well, they emailed saying the plans start at $9.95 a month. That’s not technically untrue, but the deal is actually $9.95 for the first month for the least expensive plan. After that, it jumps to $19.98. A rather tired bait and switch.

BooksFree isn’t free, though shipping is. You can sign up for $9.99 a month, which gets you two paperback books at a time.

America’s BookShelf has a slightly more complicated, but less expensive setup. There’s an annual fee of $12 and you’ll need to be willing to share the books on your bookshelves. Each book you receive will set you back $3.50.

BookMooch takes a different tack. There are no costs, except for mailing. Give someone a book, earn a point which you can redeem to get a book. A similar concept for paperbacks at PaperBack Swap, which has a printable postage option.

BookCrossing is essentially a catch-and-release idea—books are left in the “wild” for you to pick up, read, and then return to a public place. Right now there are 28 books in NYC.

And to help you select your next book, check out:



What Should I Read Next

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An Ad Agency advertises? Great Scott!

See what I just did there? So you probably already saw that Strawberry Frog put an ad in Fortune (you can read about it on Scott’s blog).
Strawberry Frog
Anyways: through the medium of bulletpoints (because I am kind of tired)…
1. Novel to see an Ad Agency putting its money where its mouth is … and creating advertising. (Yes, SF do indeed call themselves an “Agency” … and refer to the “Advertising” scene on their website)
2. Interesting that Scott refers to the new ad “for” Fortune rather than “in” Fortune. Said magazine is a Strawberry Frog client, so one assumes this ad was bartered, free, part of the remuneration package or maybe part of a Frog strategy involving Frog ads “for” Fortune. Desired consumer behavior and success metric unclear(!) So maybe point 1 is somewhat negated…
3. I agree with the sentiment of the ad, sorry “advert” (although I don’t think it is the first time I have heard the sentiment expressed).
4. It is good to read the words that “every brand has the opportunity to do more than just advertise”. (But see again point 1…)
5. I’d love to see what StrawberryFrog themselves are doing to “impact culture in a positive way”.
6. I liked this ad a lot better than the last ad I saw from them after the unsuccessful Hyundai pitch …