Monday, October 01, 2012

MediaWeek (V4, N40): Newspapers, UK Publishing, Magazines + More

Mrs. PND returned from London this weekend with a pile of papers including The Times which I don't read now because of their pay wall.  The higher brow UK papers like The Times, Independent, Telegraph and Guardian have always been a joy to read whenever I am back in the UK.  On weekends it is not uncommon to go through four editions of some combination of these newspapers where perspectives are generally different and there is always some long form article that grabs.  Each of these also carry magazines which are a read all of themselves.

This Saturday The Times had a long excerpt from Mr. Pete Townshend's upcoming bio and the magazine is always in addition to the thick review section that covers all forms of popular media each week.  All the major newspapers cover popular culture to a concentrated degree you don't really see in the US market.  With the Rowling book out this week, most of the papers devoted space to articles oriented around her and the book (Telegraph).  That aside, there were other snippets of interest but one of the more amusing items in The Times (which I wouldn't have heard about otherwise) was a short call-out to Haynes Publishing.  Haynes publishes automotive manuals (and other manuals).  Apparently, business is off and in their recent quarterly results update they attribute the declines in their automotive manual business to the following:   "There is little doubt that during the period retail purchasing budgets were tight and that much of those available budgets went towards the phenomenally successful Fifty Shades series." (FT)  Perhaps a side to your local car mechanic that you didn't otherwise know about.

Also in the Telegraph was a review of Chris Ware's book Building Stories which is - for want of a better term - an adult comic book, although it looks like a lot more than that.  Reviewer
Just occasionally, a writer or artist – or both in one – emerges who is so astoundingly original that everything else suddenly seems like a facsimile of what has come before. Chris Ware, the 45-year-old American comics artist, is one of these. Widely hailed as one of the foremost practitioners working in the medium today, his new book, if one can call it that without being reductionist, is a work of such startling genius that it is difficult to know where to begin.
And that is part of the point. Take the “cover”, for instance. The work is presented in a large, rectangular box covered in seemingly random letters and fragments of images. It takes a while to trace a path through the puzzle and reveal the hidden title: Building Stories. This creation of a luscious vista of words and pictures that the reader must decode using a variety of subtle threads and directions is typical of Ware; abandon yourself to the process and enlightenment gradually dawns.

It is therefore possible that the big day has already been and gone, and this uncertainty reflects the mood in the industry, said Philip Jones, the editor of the Bookseller magazine. "Super Thursday is a cock-up and an irritating one at that. It is not planned. Publisher's publicity teams focus on single titles, not lists — and particularly not other publishers' lists," he said.
Nevertheless, this annual bonanza shifts a vast number of copies, as Jones admits: "According to Nielsen Bookscan, 242 hardbacks were released on Super Thursday last year [September 29] and 34 went on to sell more than 10,000 copies by the end of the year, 15 over 50,000 and eight over 100,000. No other date matched that."
What is certain is that 2012 is the year when Britain will acknowledge its "national treasures". A series of reassuring memoirs from popular heroes and heroines, such as Camp David, by David Walliams, the entertainer, writer and charity swimmer; Bond on Bond, by Sir Roger Moore, the avuncular actor, and Is It Me? by Miranda Hart, the jolly comic actress, are all jostling for attention. A run of Olympic gold medallists will also be competing for glory, while the autobiography of the nation's favorite television presenter, Clare Balding, called My Animals and Other Family, came out this month and sits near the top of the non-fiction charts. The Necessary Aptitude, the memoir of accessible comic poet Pam Ayres, got an even earlier start at the end of August.

The New York Times has drawn a lot of interest because of its paywall, something that has made it a kind of flag-bearer for that method of trying to generate revenue, and the Washington Post and The Guardian are on the opposite end of the spectrum, since they remain adamantly opposed to paywalls and are both trying to find other means of dealing with the digital disruption the newspaper industry finds itself in. And on the magazine side, publishers like MIT’s Technology Review have rejected the popular “apps will save us” mantra and decided to pursue a different approach.
Atlantic Media is interesting in part because of the sheer breadth of things it is doing when it comes to digital, and also when it comes to alternative forms of monetizing its content. And it’s not just experimentation for the sake of experimentation: at a time when declining print revenue is flashing a giant red warning signal for print publishers of all kinds, the company also appears to be growing both its traditional revenue and its digital revenue — and by significant amounts. Digital ad revenue grew by almost 50 percent this year. According to owner David Bradley, the company’s revenue has doubled in the last four years to $40 million, and about 65 percent now comes from digital.
From Bloomberg Business Week an article on how a grade school teacher made herself a millionaire selling teaching content and aids to other teachers on the social site TeachersPayTeachers.  How about those apples? (BBW)
Jump is just one of some 15,000 teachers currently marketing their original classroom materials through the online marketplace, TeachersPayTeachers (TPT). Since signing on to the site, she has created 93 separate teaching units and sold 161,000 copies for about $8 a pop. “My units usually cover about two weeks’ worth of material,” she says. “So if you want to teach about dinosaurs, you’d buy my dinosaur unit, and it has everything you need from language arts, math, science experiments, and a list of books you can use as resources. So once you print out the unit, you just have to add a few books to read aloud to your class, and everything else is there, ready to go for you.”
To be fair, no one else on TPT has been as wildly successful as Jump, but at least two other teachers have earned $300,000, and 23 others have earned over $100,000, according to site founder Paul Edelman. “Of the 15,000 teachers who are contributing, about 10,000 make money in any given quarter,” he adds.
Frankfurt.  Next week come by our stand R928 in Hall 8.0.

Don't forget also if you are still considering registering for Tools of Change you can use my speakers discount.   Conference organizers have set up a promotional code for a 20% discount which you can take advantage of which is TOCPartner20TSpeaker

From the twitter this past week:

Queue the swoons...BBC News - Julian Fellowes to write Downton Abbey prequel
George Pelecanos on what makes a good story, which of his books you should start with, & where to eat in DC

In Sport:  Quite a Golf competition this weekend. Guardian.  (In one of the above mentioned newspapers from Saturday there were nine pages devoted to the Ryder Cup).

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