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State of the Scrapbook Magazine, Part 2: Advertising

Now that we’ve taken a look at magazine circulation of the news stand scrapbook publications, it is time to look at the second piece of the puzzle of their health: advertising. [Note that for reasons of comparison, the analysis in part one and part two of this series only includes the publications that have historically been widely available on news stands at places like grocery stores. The reason for this will be made clear in part three of the series when other scrapbook publications will be added in and discussed.]

Advertising content is an important part of the business model of the news stand magazines. A typical news stand magazine in any market needs to contain about 40% advertising to be profitable. Three or four years ago, scrapbook magazines were reaching this mark easily, and at longer issue lengths than they are now producing. Here’s how they’ve been stacking up recently:

 
Scrapbooks Etc.
(Nov/Dec 2008)
Creating Keepsakes
(Dec 2008)
Paper Crafts
(Mar/Apr 2009)
Length14413098 pgs
Percent Advertising36%37%18.57%
 
Scrapbooks Etc
(Nov/Dec 2009)
Creating Keepsakes
(Dec 2009)
Paper Crafts
(Dec 2009)
Length12812290
Percentage Advertising Content27.48%21%19.35%

So, what do all of these numbers mean?

  • All of the magazines are shorter today than they were in the earlier set of data. None of the three except Paper Crafts has been able to maintain their advertising content percentage over the past year, even by shortening their relative length.
  • Creating Keepsakes, in particular, has lost the most advertising in the past year. It is now in the very low 20′s where a year ago it was managing almost healthy stats in the high 30′s.
  • Scrapbooks Etc. has cut the most length (11%) in the past year. Paper Crafts and Creating Keepsakes have cut 8% and 6%, respectively.
  • Advertising percentages under 20% in a news stand publication indicate a title is likely in serious jeopardy. Simple Scrapbooks was at 15% when it was shut down. Memory Makers ranged between 15-19% in its last few issues. Digital Scrapbooking was at 11% by its next-to-last issue, and 5% in its last one.

While it is tempting to look at the above statistics and declare it to be a sign that the entire scrapbook industry is on life support, there is a bigger picture that needs to be considered here. That picture is the health of various business models in the publishing industry as a whole…and how that relates to scrapbook publishing.

To read about that, stay tuned for part three of the series.

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