Digest>Archives> March 2004

Lighthouse Digest changes number of issues


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Our first issue was entirely black and white, on ...

Today, more than ever before in history, the publishing business in this nation is facing a major crisis. With the rising cost of paper, postage, and labor coupled with the decreasing revenue of advertisers and the continuing drop in subscribers, and the advent of the Internet, magazines and newspapers across the nation have been forced to merge with other publications, cut back on the number of pages in each issue or edition, change to cheaper paper quality, decrease the number of editions or go out of business entirely. I have seen reports that indicate book sales are the worst they have ever been; in fact some major publishers have reported last year’s book sales down 40% from the previous year. I have no idea if that is a result of Americans simply reading less or the sluggish economy. However, I’ll bet it’s safe to assume it’s a combination of both.

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By 1993, we had added a splash of red to the ...

For example, Great Lakes Cruiser magazine, which I considered a first class publication with what appeared to be a good solid base of advertisers, one day simply stopped publishing, making the announcement in their last issue. Yankee Magazine, one of the largest circulated monthly magazines in the country, went from 12 issues a year to 10 issues a year. And have you noticed the difference in the size of the news magazines from a number of years ago compared to how many pages they have today?

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We moved to a complete change in the masthead and ...

Lighthouse Digest is what is called a “niche” magazine. What this really means is that it is very difficult for us to obtain advertising that would appeal to anyone other that the lighthouse buff and the makers of the big popular products that you see advertised elsewhere would never consider advertising in a lighthouse magazine. For example, we could never attract the big companies like General Mills, Kellogg’s, Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Home Depot, Sears, and, well, you get the picture.

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It wasn’t until December 1998 that we finally had ...

In the 12 years we have been publishing, we have had very limited success in getting Lighthouse Digest on the magazine racks of stores. All magazine distributors in the United States, with the exception of one, have declined to even attempt to promote or carry a lighthouse magazine.

When we first started publishing Lighthouse Digest, it was only eight issues per year. With our rapid growth, and the ever-increasing popularity of lighthouses, we soon went to twelve issues per year.

However, in recent years our subscriber base has been stagnant, with no major increases in subscribers. Perhaps we have saturated the lighthouse market. However, we’ve come a long way from the early beginnings when we were newspaper print with sixteen pages, to heavy white stock with black and white photos, to glossy paper with black and white photos to today’s editions with more pages and color photos. In all that time, we only had one price increase, which did not keep up with the cost of production.

However, the facts are clear; we have to take some immediate steps. Effective at once we are going from twelve issues per year to ten issues per year. The savings in postage and printing will make the difference that will allow us to continue our battle in helping to save lighthouses, and to tell and preserve their history. This issue will now become the Feb/March issue and we will do the same with a combined August/September issue.

This is not a decision that came easily, but one that was forced by the changing times and the economy. It will also give us a much needed breather a couple of times a year, perhaps a little extra time that will allow us the opportunity to revamp the format to allow for more graphic design and continuing in-depth stories. Hopefully, the day will come when we can soon return to twelve issues per year.

As we work at making Lighthouse Digest a better publication, we thank you for your past support and for your continued patronage. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions and appreciate your understanding of this current change.

This story appeared in the March 2004 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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