The digital darkness is giving way to print-centric sunlight for regional publishers.
John Palumbo knows the dark side of print publishing.
“Back during the dark times, a.k.a. 2009 and 2010, when the economic tsunami seemed to wipe any trace of commerce from the regional magazine scene, I made the “calculated” decision to buy the publishing company I now own and have run for almost twenty years,” Palumbo relates in Folio:.
“Those days were, candidly, scary. I wrote more checks than I cashed and all traces of paper (snail mail, catalogues, direct) seemed to vanish. The postal delivery bins shrank to an elastic band around more bills than checks. There were days I swear I could hear Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Raven’ in morbid hysteria,” he recalls.
Now, he says, the tide has turned back to print.
“People want print publications again in addition to digital, and custom/contract publishing appears to be an opportunity for many of us in this (regional) magazine sector,” Palumbo explains.
He’s not just wishing and hoping. Palumbo bases his assertions on comments from industry leaders like those at the recent CRMA and IRMA conferences.
“The conversation we have had with institutions large and small is that they are excited and willing to pay for turnkey publishing options and ideas as a way to complement and cut through the endless onslaught of e-communication that fills our inboxes daily,” he notes.
And he insists that the industry – which slashed print staffs so radically just a few years ago – is ready with existing personnel. “None of us need to ramp up personnel because the talent pool we have is more than willing to lend their support to the cause when appropriate. We do what we do best: publish.”
It’s an interesting perspective from someone who’s seen this from the inside out and lived to tell the tale. As he says, “Happy days are here again? Not exactly, but at least that damn raven is quiet.”