Q: We need to cut magazine publishing costs; how can we do it?
Answer: Printing, paper and postage are the major
expense items for a print publication. Content and traffic promotion
are the top items for websites. But wasted time is a serious, and
sometimes hidden cost driver for all publications. That's why as
a first step, we recommend that you explore how to automate as
many of your publishing procedures as you can. For example, installing
an advertising sales managment program may free up enough time
that you can sell the same number of ads with fewer people. Ditto
for transfering your editorial systems into a digital wokflow system.
Many publishers lose the bulk of their profits by wasting people's
time in inefficient operations. Our links
page lists software and services for publishers, including
consultants who might help you.
Ask your vendors what you can do to cut spending. Some cuts are not
obvious and nobody will tell you about them unless you ask. For example,
a printer may be able to offer significant price breaks if you increase
your print run by only a few copies. And by bringing down the average
printing cost of all your copies, you might be able to make more
profits at the same subscription price, or even to lower the price
and sell more subscriptions.
Finally, we always recommend that our clients bid out all major contracts
at least every two years. The printing business is very competitive,
and printers are constantly adding new services or lowering their
prices, but unless you re-bid the contract, you'll never learn about
these potential savings. Web services are the same, so if you haven't
shopped around recently, now is a good time to do it.
I recommend my business how-to book for
publishers, Starting and Running
a Successful Newsletter or Magazine.
It will help you understand the key decisions
that drive your profits. My second book,
Nonprofit's Guide to Publishing (co-authored with Lucia Hwang)
covers budgeting issues in even greater detail. Look for both
in your local library, well-stocked bookstores, or buy them right
now from Amazon.com.