Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bicycling Magazine in Digital Format

*WARNING - The following message is a personal advocacy rant - Reading this rant may infuriate you, make you impale yourself with sharp objects, or just make you think I'm crazy. Well, crazier than normal...

I have attempted to contact Rodale Press, the publishing company of Bicycling Magazine, Runners World, Men's Health, etc., on five different occasions both by phone and by email to get a straight answer as to a time line as to when they might go digital with their magazines. After all, I figured that a company that is into health and the great outdoors would be quick to adopt a way to reduce waste by not having to print all those magazines.

Sure, you can recycle a magazine, but what percentage of all their magazines actually make it to a recycling center? I would hope a great percentage, but the reality probably isn't as rosy as I'd like it to be.

So many of my tech (IT) magazines are in digital format and I absolutely love it. Not to mention that you can save them and refer back to them without having to have a special room in your house devoted to them!

My initial phone call to Bicycling Magazine was less than impressive. When I asked if they were going to put their magazine in Digital Format, I received a bland "no" answer. When I asked if they were planning on it in the future, I receive a bland "not to my knowledge". I pried a little further: "So, you're telling me that a magazine that promotes cycling and a natural way of life, isn't planning on a digital format to your magazine to try to reduce recycling and use of natural resources"? It was a bit longer pause, possibly due to the fact that he was contemplating if I was psychotic or not, I received a bit firmer; "Sir, as far as I know there are no intentions in the future to release Bicycling Magazine in a digital format". I thanked him for his answers but also told him that I was disappointed, so I tried the second angle: Email!

At this point, I've sent four emails that have gone unanswered in the last month or so. I'm VERY disappointed in the lack of answers. Since I can't seem to get an answer from them, I'm going to my personal sounding board in hopes of garnering support. I figured if I have enough people who like Digital Magazines and Bicycling Magazine to help make a push for this, maybe there will be enough strength in numbers to change their mind.

For those of you who think I'm crazy, well, I'm used to that too. You have to be a little crazy to stand up for what you believe in sometimes. Oh yeah, for those who are seriously interested in rattling some cages:

Bicycling Magazine Customer Service: 800-666-2806
Bicycling Magazine Editor:
All Customer Service for Rodale:,6597,8-116,00.html
All Editor Contacts:,6597,8-115,00.html


SD_pedalpower said...

I commend you for standing up for what you believe in.

The money is in the advertising not the subscribers although the more subscribers the more money they get per inch of ad space.

Go to the source young man :)

They won't budge unless their advertisers request it.

My 2 cents from someone in the biz.

bikingbrady said...

Don't they still get their advertising revenue? The Zinio Magazines I get are an exact replica of the real one, just digital. How can this hurt advertising?

SD_pedalpower said...

A big yes to the revenue if they can prove the readership. Look at google. They make gazilions of dollars in electronic ad revenue.

The problem is getting the adheads to stop thinking of the value of a magazine ad by way of pretty pictures on dead trees.

Just thinking they won't get on the green bandwagon until they are pushed that way by their advertisers. The same thing is happening where I work. The owner did not think about going green until he found out he could not submit bids with some large companies unless we were FSC (The Forest Stewardship Council) certified. Hence I'm reading through tons of legal stuff and working on getting my company certified.

bikingbrady said...

We shall have to discuss this over a beer or ten sometime.

SD_pedalpower said...

Sounds good. Or over a java if you ever make it to another coffee & donut ride in the near future.

barry said...

I have a sub to Men's Health - generally their print content ends up online about a month later... but it is not all of it, at least that i've found.

i would be very happy if Rodale stopped sending me crap every two weeks for their other landfill publications.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kevin, having created a digital edition service company because we too feel that digital magazines are a no brainer, I applaud your common sense approach. More and more publishers are starting to see this as a necessary product in their go forward strategy. Keep on asking!

Anonymous said...

I'd guess they're hearing digital and thinking "Geek" and not "don't waste trees" In general the old publishing houses don't get digital in my experience. Generally their web sites are published for a different demographic than their print mag and so you don't see the same content too.

I thought you were going to rant about the total lack of interesting content in Bicycling Magazine which is my experience. CNN's ticker has more detail than some of the articles in the last one I picked up in the airport.