Thursday, January 14, 2010

Publishing Industry Magazine

I have subscribed to the publishing industry magazine Publishers Weekly since 1985, and my husband had subscribed for several years prior to that.

But this year I do not plan to renew my subscription because it is expensive and the magazine has been cut down to 52 pages, and not worth the price in my mind. I’m going to miss it as I have read it over those twenty five years with the exception of two or three months. The print subscription is $250 bucks, well actually 51 issues for $249.99. Even the online subscription is close to $200 bucks. I can get 48 weekly issues of TV Guide for $20 and receive an additional 8 copies...yes 56 issues all for $20. Big, big difference.

I’m disappointed with Publishers Weekly magazine. In January 2009, Editor in Chief, Sara Nelson was laid off and four other staffers lost their positions as Reed Business Information restructured. Reed owns Variety and I understand there were heavy layoffs there, also. I don’t currently subscribe to Variety so not sure what impact that has had on the movie industry magazine.

Prior to 2005, the former Editor in Chief of PW had been there twelve years. I’ve not liked the changes to format that have gone on, and I do not like the lack of content in the current magazines. Even the advertising from publishers has been different. Maybe because the whole industry is in a “downturn” and not spending a lot on advertising, I would guess.

Hmm, could be even more reason for writers to self publish? Amazon’s Create Space and Kindle sounds more inviting every day to authors. Especially with all the cutbacks at publishers and then apparently agents not wanting to take on much, possibly assuming books are hard to sell right now.

I did notice that nonfiction sales (which are usually very good) came down a bit and fiction went up in 2009. Nielsen BookScan gave figures for sales in 2009 and adult nonfiction was down minus –6.4 %, and adult fiction was up 0.5 %. Both juvenile nonfiction and fiction were down a little, at -0.2 % and -0.6%. Consumers also went for trade paperbacks over hardcovers, a little more than 2 to 1. Hardly a surprise with hardcover prices as high as they are.

But it shouldn’t be much of a surprise in today’s world that fiction sales are up. People want an escape and good fiction will do just that. We can escape into the world of fictional characters and "ride along" with them as the story unfolds, and be entertained, freeing us of stress, and worry. Sounds good, doesn't it?


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