Wednesday, July 4, 2012

New Home for Alberta Magazines Blog!

This blogger version of the Alberta Magazines blog is no longer active...

You can always check back here for past posts, but from now on you'll find new posts on the recently redesigned website of the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association at

We'll be rolling out a new blogging program in the next few weeks, with regular posts by guest contributors to All About AMPA, All About Industry and All About Members.

See you at our new home!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Digital sales data cause for nightmares

Image source: CDS Global, image of print subscription report

In a recent story by Audience Development, the nightmarish state of digital magazine sales data is revealed. For those working in circulation, digital newsstand results can be even harder to come by than those for print copies, and are much harder to digest.

Apparently, digital storefronts such as Apple, Kobo and Zinio all use different reports, and nothing is standardized. Zinio is the only one that offers any kind of automated dashboard, but none of the vendors use an existing fulfillment system.

Whatever reports they send, publishers have to decipher and massage the data to glean any sort of useful information.

Thankfully, there are groups working to fix this problem. CDS Global, for example, aims to collect sales and subscription data from all of the digital newsstand providers, standardize it, provide sales and revenue recognition and track it.

But for the average publisher trying to track their digital sales, it's likely going to be some hefty Excel handiwork for a while yet.

Have you figured out a digital circ system that works for your magazine? Share, share!

--- Colleen Seto

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Walrus uses reverse psychology ads in Calgary

Those in Calgary may have noticed a rather unusual magazine ad campaign taking place on billboards, C-trains, and restaurants. WAX, a local ad and design agency, has created a "reverse psychology" ad strategy that encourages people not to subscribe to The Walrus, an award-winning national magazine.

The long-copy approach of the ads demonstrate what readers would find in the magazine, so if you're averse to the ads, you likely wouldn't be a Walrus reader anyhow.

Co-publisher Shelley Ambrose says, "We’re dedicated to reaching intelligent and thoughtful people across the country, and we’re confident that Calgarians will rise to the challenge. The campaign is presented as a challenge to people, so they’ll take a closer look at the magazine."

The campaign is part of a focus on Calgary by The Walrus that includes a refreshing and honest cover story about Calgary in the magazine’s June issue by local writer Chris Turner and an event tonight on Calgary's Cowboy Culture at the EPCOR Centre’s Max Bell Theatre.

For more details, visit Design Edge Canada.
                                                                                                                  --Colleen Seto

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Best Practices Guide for the Magazine Industry

Image source: Canadian Magazines, cover of the 2008 Respect and Remuneration study

At last. A draft of a Best Practices Guide (download the draft) for the Canadian magazine industry has been developed to address the various obligations writers, editors and publishers have to one another.

I'm sure every editor or publisher can describe a misunderstanding or disagreement with a writer, and the same goes for every writer. I've heard plenty from both sides and have had my own share of grievances. Part of the problem is that we're not all on the same page. This guide will help to clarify how we should treat one another and make clear that things like contracts, copyright, timely payment and reasonable working conditions are not afterthoughts, but should be part of every exchange between a magazine and a contributor.

This guide aims to provide that "same page" for everyone to work from so there are fewer misunderstandings and disagreements, or at the very least, to provide some basis for discussion.

Please take the time to review the draft and give your feedback to edickson[at]magazinescanada[dot]ca or by commenting on the Canadian Magazines blog.

For any of you going to MagNet, you can also participate in the session Yes, We Can All Just Get Along (WR2, Wednesday June 6, 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.)

The hope is that the guide, once finalized, will be adopted like the advertising-editorial guidelines were, and act as a set of agreed professional standards. Of course, there will always be exceptions, but at least we will have something to reference, to know that we are in fact making one.

--Colleen Seto

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Joyce Byrne Named 2011 Magazines Canada Volunteer of the Year

Woot! Woot! Shout-out to Alberta Venture's Joyce Byrne on being named Magazines Canada’s Volunteer of the Year for 2011.

Joyce Byrne, Magazines Canada Volunteer of the Year

Anyone who knows Joyce knows what an ardent supporter of Canada's cultural magazines she is, as well as a huge advocate for Alberta's publishing industry. She currently sits on AMPA's board of directors and has served as a director on the Magazines Canada Board for 10 years. She is part of Mags Canada's Government Relations committee and MagNet curriculum taskforce, and has chaired the Professional Development committee since 2007.

She's always keen to share her wisdom (and her humour!), often participating on AMPA's expert panels at post-secondary institutions.

Prior to joining Venture Publishing, Joyce was publisher of Toronto-based This Magazine. She was also part of the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) taskforce that established the corporation's successful magazine funding program. She has been a steering committee member of Digital Eve Toronto (and WebGirls), a jurist for the OMDC and the Canada Council for the Arts, and is a director of the National Magazine Awards Foundation.

Joyce chaired the Advertising Club of Edmonton Awards in 2008, and currently chairs the committee for Edmonton's annual Cannes Reel fundraiser in support of the National Advertising Benevolent Society. She is also the proofreader of the biannual literary magazine Taddle Creek and a consulting publisher to the new Edmonton-based literary magazine Eighteen Bridges.

She'll be officially honoured at MagNet in Toronto on June 7.

Congrats again Joyce! You deserve it!

--Colleen Seto

Print to digital shift still requires a lot of thinking

Image source: emedia vitals
 A recent blog post on eMedia Vitals, an online publication that serves print media professionals transitioning their business to emedia, showed that there has been some headway made by newspapers in the digital circulation realm. But there's still a lot that needs to be re-thunk.

It discusses three areas--packaging, pricing and distribution--where publishers can no longer rely on traditional models in the digital realm.

Have a read, it's good stuff to chew on.
-- Colleen Seto

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Content Curation--the Perfect Job for Magazines

Image source: amandamaks

The idea of content curation has been bandying about for a while now. AMC keynote Gary Ross touched upon it, regarding the work that magazine editors already do. Or should be doing.

And it only makes common sense. The whole point of magazines is to curate--to discover ideas/trends/information and make sense of them for their readers. This can be done be providing context and/or by providing perspective, that is, opinion. Whatever you decide to do with your magazine, consider its "new" role as a content curator. And that role should be an expert one. Why let just anybody on Pinterest be the expert in your field?

Read Fast Company's take on content curation for inspiration. More can also be found at EContent.

                                                                                                                        --Colleen Seto