Scrapbook Update has received from a reliable source a copy of a statement by F+W Media president Sara Domville announcing that Memory Makers Magazine will cease publication after the magazine’s Sept/Oct 2009 issue. Domville indicates the economy and other factors are to blame:
The passion and dedication of the Memory Makers staff and contributors needs to be noted and commended, but in light of severe advertising cut backs, economic conditions, and lack of new consumers coming to the hobby, we cannot continue to publish the magazine on- or offline profitably. Unfortunately, this closure means the departure of several of our colleagues.
Please allow me to publicly thank Executive Editor Beth Williams, Managing Editor Katie Hilbert, and Advertising Representative Karen Crisp for their vision, enthusiasm, and tireless efforts on behalf of the magazine and the Company. Each has agreed to stay on through the transition expected to be complete by end of June. Please join me in wishing them well in their future endeavors.
The statement also notes that the magazine’s closure will not affect the operations of the company’s book publishing or Great American Scrapbook Convention operations.
The reference to the company considering an online version of the magazine is not a surprise to anyone who saw the survey that the magazine did earlier this spring (which was noted on Scrapbook Update) in which it questioned customers extensively about their willingness to pay for a digital version of the magazine.
The closure of Memory Makers is unfortunately not a shock to those who’ve been watching closely the state of the scrapbook magazines. As I wrote on Scrapbook Update a month ago in the same article that discussed Memory Makers’ digital survey:
Memory Makers is arguably in the weakest position of the “mass market” scrapbooking magazines at the moment. Their advertising content percentage has been the smallest of any of the surviving scrapbook magazines (Creating Keepsakes, PaperCrafts and Scrapbooks Etc.) in the past several issues. The 2008 USPS circulation statements showed them having the smallest circulation of the 4 mass-market magazines. They need some help, like many magazines across all areas of publishing.
Memory Makers’ last few issues have only contained between 15-19% paid ad content. The last (May/June) issue was boosted back to a healthy 40% by the inclusion of a large section advertising the company’s own book club, but obviously that is only a temporary measure and not a viable continuing operational model.
To compare, most of the scrapbook magazines in their healthier years contained about 40% paid ad content. Simple Scrapbooks and Digital Scrapbooking were shut down when their ad content had sunk to the neighborhood of 20%. So at 15%, Memory Makers has arguably been on life support for awhile.
Scrapbook Update will continue to do research on this story and report more information when it becomes available.