Helen Duerr, production director of GIE Media, joined the company 20 years ago as a graphic designer. She oversees production for 15 titles, including Lawn & Landscape, Pest Control Technology and Today's Medical Developments.
MB: What are the big challenges for 2008?
Duerr: Paper prices keep going up and postal as well. It's a continuing problem.
MB: Is that forcing more titles into digital editions?
Duerr: Pretty much all of our titles had digital editions already, and that's still a growing area for us. We regularly run ads in the maga-zines to get readers to go check out the digital editions. Some markets are doing better than others, of course, depending on which subscribers have the types of jobs where they would be at a computer a few times a day. What it's actually doing is really making us have tighter and tighter folios. Usually it's 50/50 or 60/40, but now we're going to 65/35 or a little bit higher so we can get as much advertising in there in order to offset the rise in paper and distribution costs.
MB: If paper and postal price increases continue at this rate, do you see titles going out of business?
Duerr: It'll depend on how strong an increase there is in paper prices this year. We already had a 6% one at the start of February and another will likely come this summer. And this is on top of the two increases we had last year, plus postal going up again in May. It'll be harder and harder on some magazines definitely to keep up with that kind of pace and meet the margins that make it worth publishing.