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.