Sunday, April 11, 2010
Do people read magazines and newspapers or comic books anymore? People ask me all the time if I think books are on the way out due to the Internet since I write books, and I don't think so. I do think periodicals are on the way out because people don't want to buy something on a regular basis with a shelf-life anymore.
Part of the reason is the cost of a magazine or newspaper today. In the old days, if you were interested in buying a magazine, you could find one for a buck or two and it was no big deal, and there was a lot to read. "Time" magazine, for example used to be about 150 pages every week and was two or three bucks. Now it's about 50 pages and is about six bucks an issue, unless you subscribe, but it's not worth subscribing to.
Of course, most of the pages were filled with advertising, but it was still a more robust reading experience, nonetheless. I think that in today's society which expects to get everything in entertainment for free, that magazines and newspapers should come down to that level and sell their magazines for a buck a copy.
Comic books still survive, but even the best comic book only sells about 100,000 copies, which is nothing when you know how many people live in the United States. These should sell about 100,000 in every state, not in the country. I think the main thing is the price, so there is no impulse buy to purchase a publication at the checkout stand. Comic book readers nowadays wait for the almighty graphic novel which collects a series of comic books into one volume.
As a result of lower sales, advertising sales are down and it's just a downward spiral.
It's too bad as I love magazines and newspapers and used to work in the industry doing ad sales for years, until I couldn't financially continue doing it. My solution is to cut the cover price and entice more sales and beef up the sales team so that you have more ads and the ads support the publications, but no one will listen to me...