35 Years of Publishing… X-acto Knives Included

It is wild to think back to what print publishing looked like when Inventor’s Digest launched its first edition in the ‘80s.

“Ronald Reagan had just begun his second term as president,” writes Reid Creager in Inventor’s Digest. “The world’s first commercial cellphone, made by Motorola, had been approved by the Federal Communications Commission just 18 months earlier—and unless your bank account had seven figures or more, you didn’t own one. The internet? A rumor.”

Most tellingly, Creager notes that their first issue, an eight-page printed newsletter, was done on an electric typewriter.

“At that stage in spring 1985, ID was an eight-page newsletter that was printed using cold type,” Creager writes. “Anytime there was an error on the page, the printer would have to physically cut or remove that piece of type from the page before it was typeset.”

It was the age of the X-acto knife and the wax roller… and publishing was about to change dramatically. Inventor’s Digest has ridden those changes successfully and now ranks as the world’s “longest running magazine on inventing.”

What a ride it’s been, too, Creager notes, explaining how the magazine has “doggedly educated and protected independent inventors through a major stock market crash, an unprecedented terror attack on U.S. soil, a historic recession, and six U.S. presidents.”

I guess we can add global pandemic to that list too, as the magazine recently celebrated their 35th anniversary in print… with no plans to stop anytime soon. As disruption only gets faster, print is proving itself to be a vital channel as successful magazines reinvent themselves to play to their strengths of careful curation, deep coverage, and the lean-back experience we all crave.

This added value is where we need to continue to focus, no matter what the world invents next. Congrats on 35 years, and here’s to many, many more!