Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Tom asks: Car Restorer magazine went out of business Feb 1. Do you know anything about why they couldn’t make it? They had no advertising, but they were in business for quite a while.
My reply: Not specifically, but generally, print publication is dying. For two reasons, chiefly. One is that not enough people are willing to pay for a subscription; another is that advertising revenue has dropped precipitously. And there’s a third reason, probably. It is that lots of people under 40 simply prefer the digital format. They like the immediacy of it, for one and for another, they dislike reading (and carrying around) a physical, “hard copy” magazine.
To shed some light on the financial side of the problem, this site has a readership approximately as large as that of a successful print magazine like Car Craft or Hot Rod (when they were successful, before the Internet). But EPautos cannot afford a staff. I can only publish because my costs are fairly low but the point here is that I cannot pay employees and if this were a print deal, EPautos would be out of bidness, too.
It costs a lot to produce and print a glossy mag and then mail it to thousands of people. If you haven’t got thousands of dollars for that – each month – forget about it.
To shed some more light: Before the Internet, I could sell a 2,000 word article to a magazine for $1,000 (sometimes more). I used to write regularly for American Airlines’ in-flight magazine, Easy Rider and some others you’d recognize. But when they lost ad revenue due to the Internet – and when anything I (or anyone else) wrote as an “exclusive” could be easily copied and posted online where anyone could read it for freeeeeeeeeeee that went away.
Nowadays, a write is very lucky if he can sell a same-length article for a couple hundred bucks – and it’s often more like $75.
The upside is someone like me can publish on equal terms with The New York Times. This is why “de-platforming” and “de-monetization” and probably soon, outright bans on “hateful” material, which will be defined as anything which doesn’t toe the partei line. For example, there are already “calls” to restrict the publication of “misinformation” about “climate change.”
Hopefully, this will not happen. But there’s no doubt that’s what already happened is the death of print media. It shall not return.
Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
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