CCG: An online edition of a magazine seems so cutting edge. How did a small regional publication wind up here? When and where did you get the idea for this?
JM: My initial inspiration probably came from The New Yorker, when they debuted their online reader. I’m more of a magazine-in-the-bathtub girl myself, but I could see how an online version would appeal to many folks. Alas, when I started researching, the lowest price I could find was about $600 a month. Yikes! I knew prices would come down though, as they always do with technology, so I waited and watched, and then, in December, found the service I use, issuu.com.
CCG: Was it hard to get set up? Did you have to hire someone to help make it happen?
JM: It was absolutely as easy as falling off a horse. Anyone can use this service. It would be a great place to store club newsletters, teaching collateral, etc.
CCG: How can it be free?
JM: Just like with the print edition, advertising will pay for the online service. Of course, all of the ads that are in the print edition are already in the online one, but we’ll be adding additional ad opportunities for our advertisers, many of whom are hungry for this exact kind of online exposure.
CCG: What’s going to happen to the print edition?
JM: The print edition will remain exactly as it is. This is just an additional delivery option. Over time, if there is a huge shift to online, there is the possibility we might reduce printed copies. But for now my thinking is “the more circulation the merrier.”
CCG: What has been the reaction from your readers?
JM: When I first trialed the online edition, using the UGJ’s Facebook fans as guinea pigs, I got a very enthusiastic response from readers who live in more far-flung locations and don’t always make it to their “local” garden center in time to pick up the newest issue — in fact some probably don’t even have a local garden center. These readers were extremely excited to be able to get their hands on the calendar, especially, in a more timely way than ever before possible.
CCG: As a reader of (and occasional writer for) Upstate Gardeners’ Journal, I’d have to agree. I valued the information in UGJ enough to pony up for a subscription several years ago, and I’m thrilled to have access to this magazine without further depleting my bank account. If you want to know the best place to buy plants and garden accessories, or hire a gardening consultant, in upstate NY, all you have to do is flip the online pages of Upstate Gardeners’ Journal. Likewise, there’s no better place to find out what’s happening in the gardening world in upstate NY than by consulting UGJ’s calendar. What are you waiting for? Click on the magazine cover and go over there!
Jane Milliman photo courtesy Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Don’t miss the Sweetheart Seed Giveaway now going on. Deadline is February 6, 2011.