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Forum topic by BobLang posted 03-17-2019 09:41 PM 1668 views 0 times favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BobLang

169 posts in 3728 days


03-17-2019 09:41 PM

On March 10, 2019 F+W Media, the corporate owner of Popular Woodworking filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from it’s creditors.

This link is to story in USA today

This link is to my blog post about the demise of this and several other woodworking magazines.

-- Bob Lang, https://readwatchdo.com


40 replies so far

View BFamous's profile

BFamous

310 posts in 448 days


#1 posted 03-18-2019 12:09 AM

It was inevitable. Print newspapers have been going downhill for well over a decade, and magazines are not in any better if a position. Best they can hope for is to drive enough only e readership to sustain their businesses through digital ads. But there are SO many sources of content these days that is not an easy thing to do…

-- Brian Famous :: Charlotte, NC :: http://www.FamousArtisan.com

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Ewornek

2 posts in 33 days


#2 posted 03-18-2019 12:52 AM

I just joined the Lumberjocks community today and ran across your blog on the demise of Pop Wood and those other woodworking mags. It is so valuable to get a former insider’s view of what’s going on there. Thank you for that frank analysis. As you said, I’m sure it was not pleasant for you to write that. As a former print and wire journalist from the old school days when that was more of a craft with a mission than a corporate numbers game, I can appreciate your sense of wistfulness.

-- Wooden Angel Farm

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TungOil

1164 posts in 822 days


#3 posted 03-18-2019 03:44 AM

What a shame, I know you put a lot into Pop Wood when you were there, sad to see it driven into the ground like this.

I guess this explains why I never heard from them after my dining table won the 2018 excellence awards….

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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Manitario

2747 posts in 3210 days


#4 posted 03-18-2019 05:07 AM

I’ve kept on as a subscriber basically out of loyalty to a dying medium. Every edition though was sadder and sadder and I’m surprised that it has kept on as long as it has.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

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bruc101

1336 posts in 3869 days


#5 posted 03-18-2019 06:07 AM

I think computers and the internet started the downhill slide on humanity for a lot of businesses. I watched an old documentary recently on the design and building of aircraft. It showed a room with at least a 100 draftsman in it working on drafting tables and another room with at least 200 clerks sitting at desk with typewriters.

A dozen CAD operators have taken the place of those draftsmen and computers have probably replaced 90% of all those typewriter and filing clerks. Being a CAD person myself, taught and working on the drafting table for many years, I could never see myself going back to the drafting table. Automation has caused us to have to make some serious changes in our mill work shop in the last 10 years to be productive in the industry. (CNC)

Now what’s in the process of killing off millions of jobs is something called automation. Several years ago we visited a distribution center that had had about 300 employees in it. It now has 5 computer nerds working there programing and monitoring all the robots in the warehouses and several forklift operators.

Sad to see woodworking magazines going down. If they want to stay afloat they might need to think about in line with the new way of doing things, in the internet.

-- Bruce Free Plans https://traditionalwoodworking.org

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EarlS

2651 posts in 2675 days


#6 posted 03-18-2019 11:23 AM

My subscription to Fine Woodworking expired and I chose not to renew it due to the huge price increase for the subscription and their presumption that they could simply auto renew my subscription since I paid for it online which meant they had my credit card number and the fine print included a clause that allowed them to do so. The business side turned me off to a very good woodworking magazine.

The other issue I’ve noticed is that the basic articles don’t change. Go back 5-6 years and look at what they are building then fast forward to today. There are a few style differences but the same projects are showing up (bookcase, end table, clock, etc.). Woodsmith suffers from this problem, though they seem to be doing OK.

What I appreciate about the books Bob writes is the history section at the beginning as well as some darn good shop drawings and pertinent discussion of the piece and it’s construction methods. I’m not sure but I might have all of the books Bob has written on A&C, G&G, Stickley, Harvey Ellis. Keep them coming and I will keep buying them for my library. Reading a book like that is great way to spend an evening looking for ideas for the next project. Beats looking for content on the internet.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5454 posts in 2821 days


#7 posted 03-18-2019 04:56 PM

I still subscribe to PWW, and likely will until the lights go out (which may be sooner than I anticipated). But I was following this info on another forum when several of the posters moaned and groaned about the bad management choices made there recently, suggesting that’s what led to this. I guess I think the choices were bad, but is unrelated to it’s continuing decline. As someone mentioned above all print media is likely to go by-by in the not to distant future. Bad news for me, I still prefer to hold the paper in my hand. On the other hand, it’s fairly hard for such a magazine to have new content all the time…I mean, how many times can you detail building a table? For many years I had subscribed to Popular Photography, which was a much older magazine than any of the woodworking offerings; and they quite publishing a paper edition a few years back.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Robert's profile

Robert

3343 posts in 1808 days


#8 posted 03-18-2019 06:28 PM

Looks like Schwarz saw the writing on the wall….

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Holbs's profile

Holbs

2194 posts in 2357 days


#9 posted 03-19-2019 04:04 AM

I best check up on my Sky & Telescope subscription if PWW is going dark

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

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Woodknack

12726 posts in 2707 days


#10 posted 03-19-2019 04:49 AM

One other thing the woodworking magazines did wrong—they stagnated. How many bookcases and Shaker tables can you write about? How many router tables and crosscut sleds articles are enough? MCM as a style has been extremely popular since the 90s and yet every magazine ignored it and stuck to Shaker and Craftsman with occasional forays into contemporary. I was in a video conference with writers from w/w magazine and when they asked for furniture ideas, one of them mocked me for suggesting MCM. Yet if you go on YT, the MCM build videos are extremely popular with young people who are very much into minimalist styles.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

537 posts in 238 days


#11 posted 03-19-2019 07:17 AM

Was getting WoodWorker’s Journal, Poplar Woodworking and Fine Woodworking. I dropped their subscriptions because of content, Didn’t feel like I was learning from their content (old or stale or just plans of stuff you aren’t going to build). The last mag from Woodsmith was Vol 40/No 235, I think I just renewed them. Also just sent a check to renew my subscription to Wood. Woodsmith and Wood magazine I do like the content. Was going to subscribe to ‘Mortise and tenon’, but thought the subscription rate was too high. I do prefer learning from the printed magazines and books, and not e-books. I just checked to see how many woodworking books I’ve purchased, the count was 35. Like many, I’m sure you all have books you’ve purchased to learn from. or able to go back and refer to.

View Woodbum's profile

Woodbum

866 posts in 3393 days


#12 posted 03-19-2019 10:48 AM

I’m old and obviously have not kept up. What are MCM and YT? Thank you.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View CWWoodworking's profile (online now)

CWWoodworking

355 posts in 506 days


#13 posted 03-19-2019 11:08 AM



One other thing the woodworking magazines did wrong—they stagnated. How many bookcases and Shaker tables can you write about? How many router tables and crosscut sleds articles are enough? MCM as a style has been extremely popular since the 90s and yet every magazine ignored it and stuck to Shaker and Craftsman with occasional forays into contemporary. I was in a video conference with writers from w/w magazine and when they asked for furniture ideas, one of them mocked me for suggesting MCM. Yet if you go on YT, the MCM build videos are extremely popular with young people who are very much into minimalist styles.

- Woodknack

This.

The stuff they were pushin, women ain’t buying. All the stuff in the magazines I would show to my wife, crickets.

It was always funny to see bookcases on the cover. I was working in furniture retail when buying the magazines. You couldn’t give a bookcase away.

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MisterPhillip

2 posts in 36 days


#14 posted 03-19-2019 11:53 AM

On the off-chance anyone hasn’t seen it, Chris Schwarz has a typically pithy take on this over on his blog. He places the blame squarely at the door of the various venture capitalist purchases, which sought only to strip-mine the company for profit then sell on the husk for another cycle of cost-cuts, fire sales, borrowing and re-organizing.

Like others here though, I’d cancelled my sub a while back, mostly because it seemed to have lost its identity and didn’t feel relevant to me anymore. Still hope it can find a new home though.

https://blog.lostartpress.com/2019/03/11/an-alternate-ending-for-fw-media/

View Chenier's profile

Chenier

3 posts in 34 days


#15 posted 03-19-2019 01:01 PM



I m old and obviously have not kept up. What are MCM and YT? Thank you.

MCM = Mid Century Modern
YT = YouTube

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