Sunday, March 16, 2008

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Review of the Kindle

BoSacks Speaks Out; My good friend Peter Meirs of Time Inc fame has created a short video that I think is really worth viewing. He was the chair of an excellent group discussion on digital magazines at the Publishing Executive trade show last week. Every time Peter and I get together in the same room, there is a wonderful time warp of sorts and our conversations careen towards that semi-accurate future of our business. I know that together we have conceptualized many reading devises that are 25 years or more on the horizon. When we do this, I know we are not wrong, we are just not right yet.

Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative.
H. G. Wells (1866 - 1946)

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: Mag Industry Successes, Kindles, Ziff and more

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Review of the Kindle
and i would tell you that the magazine publishers don't want digital magazines to work. i really suspect they have no clue what to do with them since they don't get paid to make them work . . . but the kindle tells another wonderful story: linux works and works well, and great things can be built with it . . . i took windows off my two notebooks and i don't crash and i don't lose wireless signals.
(Submitted by an industry researcher and daily morning IM pal of BoSacks)

Re: Book lovers have emotional bond with paper
bob, this is absurd . . . i have always loved magazines, books and newspapers, now, i love my kindle . . . what a great way to buy and read books, especially if you are a 2 or more books per week reader, as i am.
i have no doubt that some years from now, most people will be doing most of their reading on egizmos . . . regards
(Submited by a Publisher)

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Review of the Kindle
you sir, are a voice of reason . . . the sony is a model t . . . and yes it is . . . . too bad u didn't have a kindle with you which is the tucker of e-book readers.
(Submitted by an industry pundit and writer)

RE: Book lovers have emotional bond with paper
Bo - I could not get into the show this week to hear your talk but hope that you would have talked about the Amazon Kindle - perhaps outfitted in full body armor. I have used the Kindle for a few months and it has become a must carry along. It has not 'replaced' the paper book nor do I feel it will ever do so. The Kindle is not all that useful on the beach (sand would not be a good thing). It is not yet readable in the dark (I cannot believe they did not find a way to offer even a light extension since the technology offers no backlighting). The graphs and photos do not work well at all. The wireless access is surprisingly fast and versatile and the bookmark, dictionary, notes and other features are quite intuitive (which is good since I hate reading directions). Most of all as with any first generation application it will be refined, they will get it better the second time around and likely the third time will be the charm. It is here to stay. Embrace it folks. It's not the end, it's only the beginning.
(Submitted by a longtime print and now marketing application guy)

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Review of the Kindle
I like mine as well, cool, but the back lighting real big disappointment, mags a total bust.
(Submitted by a Senior Director of Manufacturing)

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Review of the Kindle
Bo, I saw you at the show last week and was very impressed. Your three lectures were the best of all the meetings that I attended. But for me it was more the sum of the parts. Your keynote, then the Bo-epaper dissection and predictions and followed by your key trends of the industry, blended for me into a terrific forecast of where I need to apply my energy as a publisher and career focused family man. Many thanks for the very rational approach to a confusing business forecast. I guess I'm trying to say that you grounded me, and I need that.
(Submitted by a multi-title Publisher)

Re: Mag Industry Inches, With Some Success, Toward Efficiency
This is fascinating, and I've anticipated it for well over a decade.
If only the distros would buy all the copies -- like any rational business -- instead of the
consignment shellgame -- they would make it their business to get sell through up. Same should go for the stores.

I've been selling a significant portion of my niche titles NO RETURNS (at 75% off cover) for a decade. Some of the larger niche distributors (notably, XXXXXX) now request no returns contracts with all their vendors. (I was the first to suggest it to them, by the way.) These distributors that buy "no returns" from me keep the copy count really, really tight, but their sell through is great. I get a steady source of income in a timely fashion and they get a really excellent discount. Win-win-win.

Oh, and why should I, the publisher, pay for shrink? It's utterly beyond my ability to
control. If someone steals a box of cookies at Safeway, does Safeway tell the cookie company "too bad, it didn't scan?" Or if someone breaks a box of eggs, does Safeway tell the egg farmer -- "too bad, you should have made the eggs harder to break?"

BTW, I think if we are to be faced with shrink and SBT then we should get *paid* net 30 days from when the issue scans. Live by the scan, die by the scan, indeed.

P.S. I would dearly LOVE the big chains and distros to regulate for 50% sell through. It's
been my goal for years; I have tiny niche titles and I need to actually make *money* on newsstand.
(Submitted by a multi-title Publisher)

RE: ziff davis media files for bankruptcy
Do you know if the big creditors are printers? At first I thought it was strange that they were going to write off so much in return for the big majority stake in common stock. On reflection, it started sounding like someone pretty desperately needed those publications to keep printing, and that might well describe major printers who would be hard pressed to see that much business suddenly drop off the revenue side, which would smack their own stock prices.
(Submitted by a Writer)

RE Why do good magazines die
Bob: Greatly enjoyed your column which I read in a place I never bring my laptop.

My business depends in part on digital information and the web but I am
certain the flight from print is folly. Smart people will be making money
from print for as long as people can read - the written word is the basis of
our civilization and print is still the one of the best technologies for
disseminating and preserving the written word.

My motto in this business has always been, "first figure out what you want
to say, then figure out how to make it pay." The trouble with a lot of
corporate information businesses is that the decision makers really don't
care about the products. Editorially driven information enterprises are the
kind I love.

I just signed up for your newsletter. My interest in paper and pulp is due
to my involvement in a timber magazine, not as a potential buyer of paper.
(Submitted by an Unknown)

RE; Does the next generation read?
Finally I have a few moments to respond to your question of October, 2007 "Does the Next Generation Actually Read?" which you posed in Publishing Executive.

The one word answer is "Yes".

However they do not read useless words which still fill the gaps between ads and pretend to be of importance.

They want the information they need and they do not care whether it comes to them in leather bound, gold leaf, low acid content volume, which they physically have to access somewhere or visually in pictures or abbreviated in an IM. They can't waste their time with what the publishing industry habitually tries to pass off as important knowledge.

Their generation has to absorb about 10 times the knowledge we did and they have to do it in much shorter time. I like to compare our knowledge transfer industry (schools) as the most inefficient time spent in our lives. It is as if we tried to eat all we will need for the rest of our lives in the first 20 years. It does not work. They can no longer spend 20 years to learn all that we will need to know for the rest of our lives. Most of what the next generation will have to know has not even been invented yet. They will need access to knowledge instantly, whenever, and wherever they are.

I have just begun the 32nd year of publishing Futurific Leading Indicators. Part of the reason our very small circulation is reaching a new high every month is our formula for reporting news by:
eliminating all the unnecessary words to get the story across.
we also skip all self-serving, promotional verbiage that helps to fill news pages.
we make sure to eliminate all dead-on-arrival news items. These are items that are done with and have no impact of the future.
we do not promote any creed, politics or products.
we do not entertain, distract or create hype of any sort.

After this filtering we are left with bare facts that are organized in a logical format which continues and refines the picture we are presenting, month after month.

For these 32 years, our only agenda has been, and continues to be, to accurately forecast the future. It can be done . . . and somebody had to do it.

Hope this answers your question.

Keep asking why.
Yours for a better future,
(Submitted by a President)

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