Stand Strong Together

Shaun Smith
Shaun SmithOn Dec. 6, 2019, the collector car hobby world was shocked with the sad news of TEN (The Enthusiast Network) Publishing’s plans to fold 19 of its 22 print magazine titles.  The list of magazines that will cease to exist in print format include 4-Wheel & Off Road, Automobile, Car Craft, Chevy High Performance, Classic Trucks, Diesel Power, Hot Rod Deluxe, Jp, Lowrider, Mopar Muscle, Muscle Car Review, Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords, Mustang Monthly, Street Rodder, Super Chevy, Super Street, Truck Trend, Truckin’ and Vette.  This leaves Four Wheeler, Hot Rod, and MotorTrend as the only three titles that will survive and continue to be printed in 2020.

Many of you probably were subscribers to at least one of these fine publications in the past.  (Raise your hand if this applies, I’m raising mine now).  They typically offered dirt-cheap subscription prices to enthusiasts to help build their readership in order to substantiate the pricing of display advertising to companies.  That business model no longer works for publishers.

In fact, in 2019, we saw the closure of the following notable print titles:  Auto Week, ESPN the Magazine, Family Circle, Glamour, Mad, Martha Stewart Weddings, MONEY, National Geographic Traveler, Redbook and countless others, the list goes on and on.  And, that list doesn’t include titles currently up for sale, like top-seller National Enquirer.  And, that list doesn’t include newspapers.  AND, that list doesn’t include the print magazines that reduced their frequencies and jacked up subscription pricing (Rolling Stone and Sports Illustrated—both are monthlies now) nor the magazines that went to quarterlies and stopped offering subscriptions altogether.  Also, earlier this year, F+W Media’s Old Cars Weekly (not a weekly anymore) was sold off at a bankruptcy auction. 

In 2019, we also witnessed some of the largest media mergers ever.  The most notable was the merger of Gannett and Gatehouse Media—they now own one of every six newspapers that are published.  How many of you have seen your local hometown paper fold or be bought out in the past year?  (Raise your hand if this applies, I’m raising mine now).  There were several other industry events that occurred in 2019 including acquisitions and bankruptcies that I don’t have room here or time to report on.

So, let’s get back to the more immediate car-related news.  We at Auto Round-Up, however, are not concerned so much with our own family of magazines as we are with the collector car hobby in general.  It is my professional opinion that at the end of the day, the closure of TEN’s 19 automotive print magazines will end up having a negative impact on the hobby.  It is my understanding that they will focus their resources online with various products and services and I hope that they are VERY successful in doing so and wish them the best of luck.  But the hard, cold fact is that there is now one less medium in which our hobby reaches out to younger automotive enthusiasts—the loss on the newsstand and subscriptions with those 19 magazines will undoubtedly end up attracting fewer and fewer people in this beloved hobby we all share, because they are no longer offered.

So, I ask that you stand up, look in the mirror and ask yourself if you TRULY love this hobby.  If you truly do, then I call on you to take action and try to support as many collector car and truck print magazines as your budget will permit.  Your support is the backbone of our hobby, and without it, the hobby doesn’t exist.  

The reality, however, is that $9, $10 or even $12 or $15 subscriptions are just not feasible for any publisher, large or small, anymore.  And, further, we completely understand that many of you are on a fixed income.  That’s why we, at Auto Round-Up Publications, have tried so hard to offer our readers valuable products and services at modest, competitive pricing.  When you add in the fact that our readers dictate, create and have a voice in what gets published (ads and articles), we completely feel that our pricing has been very fair over the years.

Unfortunately, the hard reality is that publishers are at the mercy of so many outside factors (post office, printing, paper, shipping, distributor contracts, etc., etc.), that we honestly have no choice at times and are forced to make pricing adjustments.  

Let’s stand together, pull all of our resources, get out there with your boots on the ground at shows, cruises, club meetings, etc. and start recruiting subscribers to not only our collector car and truck magazines, but to ALL collector car and truck magazines.  If you can’t recruit them, buy them a gift sub.  Try to subscribe to all of the magazines that each publisher offers.  Publishers are dependent upon readers supporting all of their print magazines.  (In our case, we offer Auto Round-Up, Classic Car Round-Up, Truck Round-Up and our series of Special Issues).  You can subscribe to our magazines by clicking here.

The future is in your hands.  Pass it on.  Pay it forward.  Be a beacon of hope and inspiration for the next generations to come.  Let’s do this together!

Long live the Old Car Hobby!!!

Keep on rollin’!  
(Now do you get true meaning of my saying—”Keep on rollin’?!!)
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