Today’s Machining World Archives May 2011 Volume 07 Issue 04
After almost 11 years of doing Today’s Machining World, I have decided to make the next issue (June) of TMW the last paper and ink magazine. The decision was a longtime coming, but ultimately it sort of made itself.
The economics of print have been becoming increasingly unfavorable. Look at today’s emaciated Time Magazine, you used to get in the mail. Printing 17,000 copies of TMW costs about 50 cents per copy and mailing is another $6000 per issue. Add in maintaining circulation data and salaries, plus the cost of an art director and sales person and you get a $40,000 per issue nut. Advertising revenue consistently fell short of covering it.
But that is only part of the picture. I did TMW for much more than money. For me it has been the culmination of a career in the manufacturing and machine tool world. I love the writing and the topics, and TMW gave me the opportunity to be a force in the industry.
As I was celebrating our tenth anniversary during IMTS and putting together our recent Anniversary Issue, I had the chance to make the case why I should persevere with the money-losing print publication.
The stronger my public argument, the less convinced I became in my own mind that continuing was the right call. For more than a decade I had split my time between the Graff-Pinkert machinery business and TMW. Over the last six months I noticed I was devoting more and more time and energy to Graff-Pinkert and less to TMW. Business is turning around in machinery, and the next three years look like they could be the best in a decade if we really get after it.
About six weeks ago Noah and I were staying late at the office and I brought up the idea of shutting down the print. He told me that he had arrived at the same conclusion. He told me that he felt somewhat trapped because he felt, rightly, that he was indispensable to the magazine but was too loyal to leave, though he saw no personal future in the magazine business. This made the decision an easy one. We badly need Noah’s energy, talent and wilzingness to travel all over the world in Graff-Pinkert as Jim and I move further into our sixties.
Then Noah asked the clinching question, which he usually does, “Dad, do you want to operate a magazine, or do you really just want to write great stuff?” He pointed out that with the TMW Web site, the email blasts and Swarfblog, I could do my thing and possibly reach an audience even bigger than with the magazine, and maybe even make money doing it. The iPad and iPhone have changed the publication business forever, like it or not.
This is the bottom line. I’m continuing the Swarfblog and the Afterthought column online. Noah and others will also blog. The TMW Web site and email blasts will continue with Emily Halgrimson, TMW’s Managing Editor, shepherding it. I will be devoting the time and energy to Graff-Pinkert that it deserves and Noah will become a machinery dealer.
Am I sad about TMW, the magazine, ending? Yes. But it has been a terrific run and I’m truly proud of it.
And I’m genuinely excited about simplifying my life. Now I can just be a machinery dealer who blogs to the world.