On Magazine Publishing & Quilters Newsletter Magazine



Many found out last week that Quilters Newsletter is shuttering (if you hadn’t heard, read Abby Glassenberg’s post). Current subscribers will now be getting Quilting Arts for the remainder of their subscriptions.

As the founder of Quilting Arts, I scratched my head on this decision, but out of the choices the parent company, F&W, had to offer, those at the helm thought this was the best fit.

Many of us—myself included—are incredibly disappointed and saddened that QNM is shuttering. It was an industry icon and leader—more so (in my opinion) than any other magazine in quilting.

No publisher wants to shutter a magazine; they want them to thrive. If an outside company acquires a magazine, the goal is to get a return on their investment and grow that investment, much of which includes leveraging the brand to create other offerings: special interest publications, TV shows, patterns, online communities, books, events and retreats, etc.

A serial print magazine has a lot of current pressures, competition and platforms that even 10 years ago did not exist. Anybody producing or publishing a specific piece of content—whether it be a news story, a technique, a pattern, an op-ed piece, in today’s world has to seriously consider how efficiently, cost effectively, and quickly they can deliver the content and be a cut above the competition. They have to take on rising print costs, competing online tutorials and classes (some deeply discounted or even free), free YouTube videos, blogs, podcasts featuring art & craft celebrities and industry leaders, free downloadable articles and patterns, and content that can be sliced and diced into bite-sized pieces where folks can pick and choose–and purchase for a smaller price than an entire subscription.

And herein lies the paradox: a lot of content is driven these days by SEO and Google Analytics. Editors and content managers take analytics very seriously, and also factor in the number of social media followers someone has in order to make a decision about whether or not to make a sizable investment such as producing an online class or a book (as examples).

But as consumers, sometimes we don’t know what we want…and we rely on the vision, knowledge, and passion of an authority to help guide and expose us to content that will be interesting to us.

Bonnie Leman had both the knack to drive an industry and the editorial foresight to expose us to stories, quilts, and happenings we may not necessarily know we wanted…but were sure glad we were given. I have the deepest respect for her and the support of her family for creating an incredible empire and a legacy.

I really do feel there are a lot of exciting possibilities in publishing today, serial print publishing included (have you checked out Flow or Uppercase?). Having said that, unfortunately a lot of things do have a life span. And, yes, I had wondered—and no, I do not know—if QNM was at all ever an option to be sold to another entity so it could keep going.

I am with everyone that I am deeply saddened about this magazine shuttering. I hate to see it.

I have a lot more to say on this subject but I’ll close by suggesting that if you like a magazine, go support it, then grab a cup of tea, coffee or glass of wine and enjoy the quiet, reflective time. Just think…there wont be any pop-ups or text alerts.





29 responses

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here Pokey. The industry is challenging, changing, exciting, fascinating. I love being part of it. As I see things changing I do wonder how we engage our readers differently, more effectively, what can I do differently?

    congrats on the Art Barn being complete!


  2. I’m so sad to see this magazine leave the market. I feel like QN is a healthful meal to be savored, but now with it’s departure we are being left with fewer choices and if we don’t act we will be left with just fast food choices. I need to go see if it is time to renew my QA subscription.

  3. I agree. The end of an era. I have been a subscriber since who-knows-when? Surely since the early 80’s. It is quite sad.

  4. Thank you for your considered email. I too am saddened to see QNM shuttering, as it was the magazine that kept me up to date on the quilting world when I had moved to suburban NYC and took a class telling me I could only use calico in red, blue and yellow, had young children and also when I had very little extra money to spend on fabric.

    Everything in this world changes, like it or not, so we have to roll with it. Having said that, I am concerned that F&W Publishing owns several quilting magazines. Hopefully this isn’t the beginning of the end of print quilting magazines.

    Carolyn Solomon Haslett, MI

  5. QNM and Quilting Arts are the only sewing-related magazines I’ve purchased for years; everything else is either too traditional (quilting) or too simplistic (garments). With the recent state of print media, I’m sorry to say it’s not a surprise. I do love and appreciate some of what I find online but, wow, the search just wears me out! Instead, I’ve pulled back from all but a few favorite blogs in order to spend more creative time doing things myself – rather than looking at others doing things! Obviously, *you’re* one of those few favorites. 🙂

  6. Very thoughtful and interesting post. I subscribed to QNM for many years, and I remember what a big deal they were. For a while they co-sponsored competitions with IQA; and I was first runner-up in one of them, “Artistic Expression” in 1996. I got to go to Quilt Expo in Lyon to claim my prize. What an adventure that was. It was a great magazine and will be remembered and missed.

  7. Reading a real paper magazine is always preferable for me! Goes back to getting something wonderful in the mail that is addressed to YOU! No depending on electronic aberrations – easy to carry anywhere – read anytime regardless of connections – even in the doctor’s office or car without eye stain reading the small screen! Goodbye to Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine. I retain many back issues for comfort!

  8. Pokey, I am shocked! I had not heard that QNM was shuttering, but am glad that it means my remaining issues will add to my Quilt Art issues. That is a bonus unexpected! I have a friend in the batik world who has expressed concerns that the quilt industry is in chaos right now and this just adds to my own concern about it. For me, it is a passion that I cannot forego and I wonder if this is just a tightening of the belly due to political and economic concerns that take place once a few decades. I am hoping to send some articles to Quilt Art in the future and that the joining of the two magazines will not take away from the forward thinking, progressive style that Quilt Art has currently. I did not buy my subscription to read basic quilt lessons, but to learn new techniques. I’m not sure how that will mix with the QNM mold. I can only say that I wish all the best of luck! I’m in it for the long haul!!! Beth Stewart-Ozark bethequilts@aol.com

  9. I’m so disappointed by this news! QNM has been the one constant in my quilting life. I hadn’t gotten any notification as a subscriber, but will try to be satisfied with the QA when it arrives, even though most of that one isn’t to my taste.

  10. It isn’t just F&W making these changes. AQS is also currently making adjustments in the publishing side of its business. These are two major industry leaders making pretty huge changes in a very short amount of time. Our industry is changing rapidly, and today’s quilter must keep a sharp eye out for quality content! As you dig through the Internet exploring “freebies”, remember that you get what you pay for!

  11. Sew sad, it breaks my heart… If not just the legacy of Bonnie Leman, but the inspiration and excitement I feel each time I open QNM. It has been part of my quilty life for over 26 years. Like losing a best friend. WE FEEL THE PAIN…

  12. I believe F & W Media is causing a great deal of turmoil everywhere it goes. I have stopped my subscriptions to any American’s Test Kitchen publications. I was not pleased when they took over Sew Beautiful and then stopped it. Too many people concerned with Lots of Money and less with quality.

  13. I just received a renewal form for Quilter’s Newsletter – how can they ask subscribers to renew and not tell us they are ceasing publication? I am extremely disappointed that QN would do this.

  14. It’ll take a long time to see another quilting magazine approach 50 years in print, but it seems important to keep track of these milestones, even if publishers don’t appreciate them.

  15. Thanks, Pokey for an informative and insightful post about QA magazine. I hadn’t heard they were shutting it down. Years ago it was my first print resource for art quilting and remained a perennial favorite. I’m saddened by their decision and will miss getting it in my mailbox and the excitement and anticipation of what gem of knowledge or technique I was going to learn.

  16. I’m sorry to see another magazine shut down. Thank you for recognizing UPPERCASE in your post—I launched the magazine in response to some of my favourite “big” magazines being shuttered back in 2008. Thankfully, I’ve found a small but loyal audience who appreciate what I make.

  17. I quit subscribing a year ago. It was my favorite until editors changed and it became not a pattern resource but looked more and more like a ref mag. Few patterns, lots of articles and pictures. Not surprised it is closing – didn’t understand the market – run by a college journalist not a quilter????

  18. I’m really going to miss this subscription. I agree that competition is fierce out there, but I did think that there would always be a place for a title you can sit down with and enjoy over a cup of coffee. What a shame.

  19. Uppercase and Flow look like lovely and expensive magazines, but they’re not anything like QNM, which I’ve been reading for years and years.

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