March 22, 2009

Dreamers can help publishers keep offering luxury of 'unplugged content'

I started my morning by reading a print edition of a newspaper, currently delivered seven days a week to my home. That reminded me how much I agree with John Blossom that it is a "luxury to spend time reading "unplugged" content."

It's a luxury I've indulged in this week as the changing of chemo treatments for my daughter offered the opportunity to work my way through stacks of magazines that now will go to the waiting rooms of medical facilities in need of new distractions.

Yet, as I turned the pages I realized that I only read certain features and departments of each. That makes me eager for the success of projects like Printcasting and Time MINE. It makes me eager for the success of creative thinkers like those meeting this weekend for RevenuePointTwoZero or on Apil 25 for BarCamp Philly.

Printcasting lets you create a digital, print as a PDF, magazine on any subject. You can see samples for the arts, nutrition and many other subjects.

Time MINE lets you build a magazine from articles found in Time, Travel & Leisure, Real Simple, Sports Illustrated, Food and Wine, Money, InStyle and Golf or delivery by email or post office box.

As I clipped a few cartoons that will likely end up in collaged cards for friends and family, I realized I'd soon be missing pieces of the stories told on comic pages. I wondered why all the publishers are picking the same days to publish. Wouldn't those of us still attracted to print subscribe to another newspaper if it filled a void? So I get the Detroit Free Press three days and the Detroit News the other days. Or perhaps the Detroit papers three days and the Michigan East edition the other four.

That gets me agreeing again with John Blossom, on ContentBlogger. His post acknowledges that Time MINE shows "Online Lessons Creep Into Print Content" with its blending of articles in a common publication. He points out that this is just another small step for Time, which already customized some editorial and advertising based on ZIP codes.

"So kudos for Time testing the waters for their MINE publication, but I do hope that major publishers will finally begin to see the light and start enabling the printing of massively customized print and print-formatted publications that aggregate content from whatever sources interest their audiences the most.

"The result will be far higher ad rates, far higher returns on investment and a much more healthy print publishing business in the long run. Let's stop allowing printing presses to go dark in major cities just because the one publishing company running them cannot build a business model to support them.

"Let those printing presses role with whatever content will command the highest interest from audiences from whatever sources produce it, and the money will follow with due haste.

Let's hope so.


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