Don’t Panic!

hhgttg-original-recordsIf you’re a Dovetail client then last week’s bombshell is likely to make your next few months a right royal pain in the backside. Moving bureaus is the opposite of fun at the best of times; to a deadline, when there are a hundred other companies looking for a new berth is not the best of times.

If you want some help – advice, scheduling, hand holding, a stiff drink – drop me a line. I’m happy to come round for a chat and see if there’s anything we can do together.

I’ve moved magazines from bureau to bureau numerous times over the years and brought titles in house (or moved them out of house), so will be able to take some of the ‘unknown’ out of the equation.

That should leave you free to concentrate on the rest of your business.



Recent projects

I’ve been rather busy over the past few months and have been neglecting this blog. I hope to put that right in the forthcoming weeks.

In the mean time, I’ve added a ‘recent projects‘ section to the site to give an idea of some of the things that have been taking up my time since the summer (and, of course, to give you ideas about how you can employ me to help out with your ecommerce projects).

You will find this under the ‘about me’ tab on the menu, or the direct link is here.

The Magazine Diaries

Screen-Shot-2014-06-05-at-08.32.23And how is the magazine industry treating you these days?

The Magazine Diaries is a project by Peter Houston of Flipping Pages to try to capture what it’s like working in an industry that’s in the middle of a huge disruption. The goal is to have 100 people each contributing 100 words with the entries being collated into a book sold for the benefit of MagAid, a charity promoting literacy.

The entries to date seem to split between “wow, it’s exciting” and “hell, it’s scary” – although the two emotions aren’t mutually exclusive of course.

I’ve just done my 100 words, where I take an eeyoreish view of the business; I’ve seen too many magazines close, too many people lose their jobs (including me of course) and too many companies struggling to survive to view the proliferation of small titles as anything other than a sideshow. (If I hear anyone else talking about a ‘golden age of publishing’ I won’t be responsible for my actions.)

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that there are people producing fantastic quality magazines on subjects they love, for people who love those subjects, but the number of copies sold/readers acquired for all of these titles combined wouldn’t match the lost sales of just Readers Digest over the last five years.

Print, as a mass medium, is on its way out.

It won’t stop completely of course – you can still buy vinyl, let alone CDs – but the industry as I have known it for 25 years is moving closer to the exit. Something will replace it, and the process will be both exciting and scary.

If you think different – or even think the same – you should send your 100 words off to Peter.



Smaller is beautifuller

One of the few areas of publishing that seems to be displaying optimism is the so-called independent magazine sector. These are titles produced with the emphasis on individual design, left-field writing and high production values that are done in small runs, often infrequently and often unprofitably.

Of course some of these ‘independents’ are as slickly professional as the mega-publishing corporations (one thinks of the Church of London for example, who are building a collection of strong brands, or Port magazine with their high-quality quarterly), but all share that independent spirit of making the product as good as it can be and letting the money follow (or hoping it will. Or not giving a damn whether it does or not.)

One of the most passionate advocates of these titles has been Jeremy Leslie and his magCulture blog. Although his site features his selection of great editorial design from wherever it appears – from the obscurest irregular publication to some of the world’s biggest magazine brands – there’s naturally been a focus on the independents as these are often the magazines pushing the boundaries of design and content.

This is also an area that iSUBSCRiBE have been interested in getting into, partly so we can continue our mission to provide the broadest possible range of magazine subscriptions to customers, and partly so we can give a new way to market to publishers who are finding the traditional routes difficult.

So it made sense to get together – which is what we’ve done with the new magCulture shop. Jeremy makes the selection of titles to display and iSUBSCRiBE powers the back end of the site, taking the orders and processing payments.

We’re starting off small, but the intention is to develop this over the next few months, adding more single copies for sale, building up back issues of notable titles, signing up more titles who want to offer subscriptions both to this market and via the main iSUBSCRiBE, WHSmith and other sites that we run.

Go visit the store if you’re after something a little bit different to the usual newsstand fare. And if you’re a publisher that wants your magazine available to more people, drop me a line and I’ll tell you how it all works.

Is Magazine Publishing Screwed?

The question asked by Warren Ellis on his blog. The answers all tend to think that it isn’t, but that it is evolving.

Even taking this broadly positive view it’s worth remembering that in all evolutions there are extinctions. Certain parts of the magazine business are already right royally screwed – controlled circulation B2B titles have almost ceased to exist and paid-for B2B magazines aren’t looking too clever; once popular sectors of consumer publishing are on their way out – music magazines or listings titles for example – and other genres are anaemic relics with a sell by date fast approaching. In the next couple of years we will see several big companies move out of the ink on paper business (either voluntarily or because they go bust) and a number of household name titles simply disappear. Of course, not all of magazine publishing will wither and die, but we shouldn’t delude ourselves that there is any reason why it has to evolve and survive.


Affiliate Marketing 1.01

A copy of the presentation I did today for the Dovetail User Group over at the Institute of Directors (click to load the presentation in google docs). It’s called ‘Affiliates 1.01’ because the brief was for something very basic as an introduction for people who haven’t yet used affiliate marketing. ‘Very basic’ is obviously one of my core competencies; anyone who use affiliates already should just pass this blog post by (although there are some useful links at the foot of the page).