Tuesday, July 1, 2008

BoSacks readers Speak Out

BoSacks readers Speak Out:

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: Who Should We Put On The Cover?
My only advice as you await the return of thoughtful, subtle, clever, insightful covers lines is this: Don't hold your breath. We do not live in a thoughtful, subtle, clever, insightful culture. We live in an amoral, irrational, anti-intellectual, emotion driven, Six O'clock New "If it bleeds it leads" culture. Cover lines are merely one minor symptom of the general decline of Western Civilization in general and American culture in particular. We have created a society where life is disposable, the sanctity of the bedroom has become a spectator sport, the care of the soul is replaced by an obsession with the body, and the insights of maturity scrapped in favor of our worship of the follies of youth. Cover lines on the newsstand merely confirm what we should already know: that the road ahead follows the same, steep, downward slope. As the World's Foremost Authority - Professor Irwin Corey - aptly summed it up, "If we don't change direction soon, we'll end up where we're going."(Submitted by a Printer and life-long friend of BoSacks)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: Who Should We Put On The Cover?
I think the dumbing down comes from the editorial side - that is, many editors are bringing less intelligence to the job and assuming that they are talking to people who know even less than they, when that may not be so. How many times have you seen editors set off on a topic or story angle that assumed the worst of their readers, or that wanted to prove a theory of theirs, no matter how much evidence suggested that they were wrong? Maybe if we want better copy that will really attract readers, the industry needs to stop low-balling salaries of everyone other than the EIC so they don't have to focus so much on the next jump of their career, because they aren't having to live out in NJ on $28,000 with 4 roommates. Perhaps magazines could attract some people who not only love the work, but are smart and willing to consider things from the readers' vantage. And maybe have more of those editors actually talk with a lot more readers. What a concept, talking to your customers.(Submitted by a Writer)

RE: Internet Is Making Us Dumb, Author Says
A couple of observations on this odd article: 1. Witness the voter registration statistics for the DNC and now the Obama campaign. The under 30 crowd is storming into politics and thus current events. 2. ". . . . the intellectual wherewithal to create advertising that is more than a collection of juvenile punch lines?" Some of us might argue that the ad business has always been about juvenile punch lines. What's the ultimate goal of any ad campaign but to provide a memorable punch line that connects a consumer with a product? He acts like once upon a time advertisers were intellectuals :) So for fun, here's a few tag lines from ads placed in a wonderful book from 1950 called The Iron Gate of Jack Charles "21", as in the 21 Club. Got this treasure as a hand-me-down from my father, an old time PR guy. (The associated pictures and art work of course are priceless)> Martins Scotch. A two headed bartender is talking to himself. "Did he say Scotch?" the first head asks. The 2nd head says "No, he said Martin's VVO Scotch". > Lucky Strike cigarettes. A cowgirl with a cigarette in one hand and a hammer in another putting up a poster which the punch line "Be happy, Go Lucky". > Pontiac Cars "Dollar for Dollar, you can't beat a Pontiac" > Watches. "America runs on Bulova Time" > Marlboro cigarettes. This one is incredible. A picture of a sad faced Baby with a party hat on in front of a pack of Marlboros with a headline saying "Before you scold me, Mom... maybe you'd better light up a Marlboro". My point is that advertising is often goofy, sometimes clever, but always about the punch line. His other odd statement is "First, the ad industry is obsessed with the Internet." The fact that there is yet again another new generation socializing in new ways is as old as consumerism itself. Ad agencies are always obsessed with the newest trends. The examples above were print ads, but could've been web banner ads. And what happened in the 1950's with the under 30 crowd that horrified the older generation? TV and talking non-stop on the phone. TV was the demise of our generation yet I am happy to report I still read books, magazines and newspapers, as do most of my non-industry friends. Ad agencies jumped on TV like a . . . . pick a metaphor . . . . ? It's only a matter of time before micro-messaging from services like Twitter start preceding communications with one word ad slogans because the user message itself is only one sentence long. 100 years from now we won't be able to read a Webster's Dictionary do to changes in the language. I often find myself being nostalgic for things from my past or even before my time but the fact is that change is life, and new generations create new methods of communication and entertainment. This is how it has always been and how it will always be for as long as we live in a democracy. So the writer needs to lighten up and figure out the new audience, not try to stop the clock.(Submitted by a Publisher)

RE: Internet Is Making Us Dumb, Author Says
Are today's young people as we were or are they dumb? Yes. In a lot of ways, we were pretty smart at that age but we were still dumb. It is the innate condition of youth and that will never change. As my Grandma used to say, "You can't put an old head on young shoulders." There are some key differences, however. When we were young and dumb no one much cared about our opinions. We lived in an adult culture. Today's culture worships youth, listens to youth, and actually thinks youth has something to contribute to the life of the mind beyond energy and enthusiasm. Big mistake! The other key cultural difference is the general dumbing down that has occurred. Unbounded tolerance and unfounded self esteem have replaced education, and feelings have trumped reason. But don't blame the dumb kids for that. And don't blame the Internet. Each of us should look in the mirror and blame the person who looks back. We made this world. The dumb kids will inherit it.(Submitted by a printer) RE: Internet Is Making Us Dumb, Author SaysMaybe he should talk to some older people. I'm not convinced they know howto reason either. Look at presidents elected, companies that tanked, warsstarted, and the many other examples of human irrationality.(Submitted by a Writer)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: Is It Goodbye Printed Page?
No Not Yet!Bob, Everyone seems to agree that the preferred format for a book is the printed thing with the covers the world has known for 500 years. Everyone also seems to agree that format is unsustainable. As long as there's a demand for the printed version, it will survive, but probably at a much higher cost to the consumer. It makes me wonder if this would be a good time to start hoarding used books, which can be bought for cents on the dollar. Ten years from now, when new hardcover books go for $75, for how much could I sell the copy of The Great Gatsby my son just received as a graduation present?(Submitted by a Multi-title Publisher)

RE: Striving for Zero Returns on the Newsstand Re:Future of paper:
I've been predicting to paper producers for some time that paper would cease to be a disposable commodity. With oil at $130 a barrel, and the cost of producing paper (remember - paper is all about energy and water removal) skyrocketing, will people buy People, read it in 15 minutes, and throw it away? I've tried to articulate that I feel coated paper will become something of more permanence and value. The article below does it better than I ever could. Re: Magazine "If it seems too good to be true" Scam: Everyone asks "How do they supply 12, perfect bound, glossy, high quality issues for just $12?!" I now know how they do it - they don't. After buying Vanity Fair on the newsstand every month for years, I decided to get 12 issues for $12 through a subscription service. I got my 12 issues - 8 were back issues that I had already read (print over runs or newsstand returns that I'm sure they keep in reserve). My husband used the same service at the same time to subscribe to a small, niche technology title - and he's gotten 12 current issues. So, I have to wonder if it's a Conde' Nast policy to rip off' subscribers. Either way, I will NOT renew, and this tactic has caused me to reassess my feelings about the magazine and the publisher in general. Re: New Magazine Launches: One relationship that I think would be interesting to study would be the cost of paper (specifically sheet fed offset or web offset - the grades that most new launches are printed on) versus new PRINT title launches, as well as DIGITAL launches (or conversions from print to digital). If I wasn't so consumed with raising my prices, I'd do the work myself . . . (Submitted by a Publisher)

Re: Bits, Bands and BooksHi,
Bob: I thought of you while reading this Krugman Op-Ed piece the other day. So, the question is: We now know you read Krugman, but does Krugman read Sacks; or is it mutual?(Submitted by a Publisher)

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