"The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." Mark Twain
The same could be said about our magazine. It is amazing the number of people I meet on a weekly basis that are convinced I'm lying when I tell them things are going well with our publication. They read the web stories about the death of print and they assume print publications can't exist in the new era of web advertising, social media, etc.
That just isn't the case, as many of my colleagues will tell you from around the country, especially for niche publications.
But the environment has certainly changed. The web, especially, has brought about new competition in the marketplace. Publishers need to be flexible, agile and willing to diversify to succeed. We're certainly not alone. The growth of the Internet has changed the playing field in numerous industries. Here are just a few:
-Travel. Remember a day when travel agents booked airline tickets and took a commission to do so. Not anymore. The travel agent our company used to use is now out of business, as is many of its cohorts.
-Insurance. Why use a neighborhood agent when you can use an online agent or company for a discounted price.
-Books. amazon.com--enough said. Have you been to your local, independent book store lately? Didn't think so.
-Couriers. Remember when you actually needed a human being to send a letter across town in 30 minutes. Now, with email, it's about three seconds.
These are just a few that come to mind. Each industry has to adapt and find a way to become successful in this new environment. It's really nothing new. Challenges are part of running a successful business. And really, what fun would it be without some challenges.
--Ron Ameln, SBM