Everyone knows the print magazine industry is struggling with publications shutting their doors one after the other. Many freelance writers depended on income from print magazines for many years before digital content usurped the print publishing industry. What’s a freelancer to do when print publications are reducing the amount of articles they freelance and paying the freelancers they do accept content from lower amounts than ever?
According to John Lettice from The Register, Apple’s iPad might just be coming to the rescue for magazines and freelance writers who depend on those magazines as income sources. Lettice explains that the iPad version of Wired is available with a monthly price tag of $4.99, significantly higher than the printed version. Interestingly, the iPad version of Wired (which includes ads, although many aren’t clickable ads) has outsold the printed version.
It’s important to point out that the target market for Wired is probably also the target market for early iPad adopters, but it’s also probably safe to assume that finding ways to offer print content in the wireless reading device format through iPad, Kindle, and the multitude of other devices coming our way, is an interesting idea. The question is what will be the differentiator between the ereader version of those publications and the free content people can access online. Of course, that’s the marketer in me speculating though.
The point is this — while the print publishing industry is struggling simply to stay afloat for another month, week or day, new tools to consume content, like the iPad, offer new opportunities for those publications. And with new opportunities for publications to connect with readers, all might not be lost for freelance writers.
However, with news like we got on Monday when The Washington Post announced it sold Newsweek (after a half decade of ownership) to Sidney Harman of Harman International, another once thriving print publication succumbed to massive debt from falling sales. As reported by Newsweek, Harman was asked why he wanted to purchase the failing publication. In response, “Harman, in a brief interview, said he saw it as an ‘opportunity to synthesize all of that experience [in industry, education, and government]. I couldn’t pass it up.’” We’ll have to wait and see what becomes of Newsweek under Harman’s ownership.
How do you feel about the struggling and constantly changing landscape of print media as a freelance writer? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.