Archive | February, 2009

Cathy Zielske Done With CK Media

CK Media promised to roll the content of Simple Scrapbooks into its Creating Keepsakes title when they announced the shuttering of Simple. It’s starting to look like they won’t have much in the way of staff from Simple to do that with, as we start to learn about Simple Scrapbooks’ staff departing CK Media.

Popular Simple Scrapbooks personality Cathy Zielske indicated on her blog today that she is no longer an employee of CK Media. Zielske has not indicated any future plans for scrapbook work. I sincerely hope that we haven’t seen the last of her talent & refreshing personality in the scrapbook industry.

In addition to her work creating editorial content for Simple, Zielske also brought her graphic design skills to work doing the magazine’s art direction. Her two books for CK Media, Clean And Simple Scrapbooking: Ideas for Design, Photography, Journaling & Typography and Clean and Simple Scrapbooking – The Sequel will continue to be classic textbooks of the graphic style of scrapbooking.

In another Simple note: Tina Cockburn, who provided a lot of design content for Simple Scrapbooks (including cover art), revealed this week on the Studio Calico forums that she is owed a large amount of money from CK Media. She seems to be done with CK as well.


Scrapbook Magazine Circulation & CK Media

Today I decided to delve into the circulation statistics of the various scrapbook magazines to see what light they may shed on the state of CK Media and of the industry in general.

Brace yourself…here comes a lot of statistics…

First, their advertising content numbers are revealing about why Simple Scrapbooks was discontinued. The previous two published issues (Jan/Feb 2009 and Mar/Apr 2009) have been only 15% and 11% paid advertising content,

A look at the circulation statistics (as filed in their annual USPS circulation reports) of all of the major scrapbook magazines is definitely educational. It both explains where the magazines in this industry have been, and points to where they might be going.

One of the statistics that the magazines must report in their USPS circulation statements is the average per-issue circulation of all issues in the past 12 months. The most recent available reports were filed on October 1st, 2008. I did some comparing to the ones that were filed the same day in 2007.

PaperCrafts and Creating Keepsakes‘ average circulation per issue was basically stable between 2007 and 2008. Simple Scrapbooks dropped approximately 8% from 2007 to 2008, and Digital Scrapbooking Magazine dropped around 12%.

Volume of circulation is even more important than the percentage amount of change in that number, however. Circulation numbers show that Scrapbooks Etc. is the unquestioned ruler of the magazine market in scrapbooking. Their average circulation of 280,000 copies dwarfs the next largest contender – Creating Keepsakes – who only averages about 200,000 copies. Scrapbooks Etc. crushes everyone else’s sales on the newsstand, moving more than twice as many copies there as CK, and providing them a circulation advantage of about 45,000 copies through that outlet. Their average subscriber volume is also about 35,000 stronger than Creating Keepsakes.

(An interesting aside about newsstand sales of scrapbook magazines: At my local Publix grocery store this afternoon there were 3 scrapbook magazines available for sale – Scrapbooks Etc, Creating Keepsakes, & PaperCrafts – and no less than nine quilting titles.)

For total circulation the magazines are ranked in their 2008 average circulation reports as follows:

  1. Scrapbooks Etc. (280,000)
  2. Creating Keepsakes (200,000)
  3. PaperCrafts (177,000)
  4. Memory Makers (159,000)
  5. Simple Scrapbooks (120,000)
  6. Digital Scrapbooking (36,000)

(Other magazines are not included because I did not have the issues that contained the circulation reports.)

The surprise strong second place contender on the newsstand is PaperCrafts. In fact, both Simple and PaperCrafts on average outsold Creating Keepsakes on the newsstand in the 2008 circulation numbers.

Looking at the numbers in the list above, it is a little easier to understand the actions taken by CK Media in the past few months of shuttering the magazines that it did. Even if there were those of us like myself who loved the two titles, obviously we were in publishing terms too small of an audience.

What do those numbers mean going forward? Scrapbooks Etc. seems in the strongest position – their circulation is strong and they are still managing a higher percentage of ad content at a higher page count than anyone else.

Creating Keepsakes would seem to be in a relatively strong position as well, except that we already know the company has dug themselves a deep hole.

Advertising content at both PaperCrafts and Memory Makers has dropped to dangerous levels, and they don’t have the circulation strength of CK and Scrapbooks Etc. to rely on. The health of those publications will bear watching.

No one in the publishing industry is immune from trouble in current times. Publications are dropping right and left. We shouldn’t expect the scrapbook industry to be any different.


Maintenance Alert for Scrapbook Update Email Subscribers

Please note that if you are a subscriber to Scrapbook Update via email, these emails are now being sent from a new address to fix problems with the previous address being intercepted by spam filters because it was a “” address.

If you use a very restrictive spam filter on your email software, you may need to update your permissions to let it allow email from the new address:

Thanks for taking the time to make any necessary changes on your end to continue receiving your “Updates”, and thanks for subscribing to Scrapbook Update!


Follow-up on CK Media’s Troubles

After surveying Creating Keepsakes’ drop in advertising in the past 12 months, it seemed a good idea to follow-up with an examination of the advertising in the other CK Media magazine still in print: PaperCrafts.

The advertising situation in that title appears even more dire than in CK Media’s flagship title. A year ago, just over 24% of the magazine was paid advertising.  The current issue is 8 pages shorter than the length in March 2008, and still only manages to contain 18.6% paid advertising. Considering that Creating Keepsakes’ “good” numbers a year ago (when it appears they were already having trouble paying their bills) were 33-38%, 18.6% is dismal.

Are the advertising problems industry-wide? To a certain extent, it appears so – which isn’t surprising to anyone following the publishing industry with magazines dropping right and left. A year ago, Scrapbooks Etc. was 32.25% paid advertising. Now, it is 8 pages shorter, and only 25.6% paid advertising content. Memory Makers’ numbers look even worse: In May/June 2008 they were 31.64% paid advertising content. Now, they are 15.4% paid advertising content (although the same length).

While CK convention attendance has seemed strong to outside observers, that doesn’t seem to mean they’ve been any better at paying their bills for that part of their operation. I’ve been receiving numerous reports of creditors who are owed overdue bills that run into as much as 5 digits from doing business with CK Media’s convention department.

And apparently being on the magazine’s masthead doesn’t keep you off the list of the unpaid, either, as Creating Keepsakes’ web hostess Erin Lincoln indicated this morning in a post to a thread on the CK message board about the company’s troubles:


Which may be the biggest indicator of all of exactly how deep the company’s troubles are.

Want to stay “Updated” on this story?

Subscribe to Scrapbook Update in a Reader


Time to start planning for CHA-Summer 2009!

For anyone who works in the crafts industry, it’s time to start planning for CHA-Summer already. (I know, it’s hard to believe when it’s still winter outside and we’re still recovering from CHA-Winter, but it is!) CHA’s travel site for CHA-Summer is open for business…it’s time to pick your dates and hotel, and start making reservations.

Those of you with eagle eyes may have noticed the appearance of the button leading to the Scrapbook Update CHA-Summer Planning Page in the right sidebar. The page is live and ready to help you plan your visit to Orlando, and can also be reached using the “CHA” tab in the navigation bar at the top of Scrapbook Update.

The CHA-Summer Planning Page includes links to all of Scrapbook Update’s news updates on CHA-Summer, links to official CHA information for the show, and links to a variety of special Scrapbook Update content on travel and show preparation.

Right now, in addition to articles about preparing for CHA, you can check the Traveling to CHA with Technology page for information on the internet and technology service offerings at the various official CHA hotels. Coming soon is a variety of information available about the Orlando area theme parks, and area dining, that will also be able to be reached from the CHA-Summer Planning Page – so keep an eye out for it!


Did you win a scrapbook mystery?

I still need mailing information from the winners of the scrapbook mystery giveaway! Not all of you supplied email addresses with your comments, so I need you to email me to provide your addresses for mailing the books to.

Once again, the winners are:

wow! I just have to try winning this book! Thank you! :D
Zanya – Feb. 11th, 2009 at 2:37am

You are
wonderful! Thank you for allowing all of us to try to win a free copy
of Laura Childs’ book! How fun! I would love to win this copy :) Pick
Beverly A – Feb. 11th, 2009 1:32am

I have not heard of any of these books. This is great, have to check
these outs. I live in snow country, these would be great to read on
those cold winter nites. Thanks for all the news and tips. Love it.


Kim – February 11th, 2009 at 6:59am

So if you are Zanya, Beverly and Kim…send me your mailing info at and I will get the books right out to you!