By now most have heard about the bankruptcy of F+W Publications, publisher of Numismatic News, World Coin News, Bank Note Reporter,
Coins magazine and the Krause standard catalogs. Here's an excerpt from a March 14, 2019 article from eCommerceBytes. -Editor
Instead of helping, ecommerce may have exacerbated the financial problems of a publisher of popular niche magazines and books that appeal to collectors,
crafters, and other enthusiasts. Niche publisher F+W Media filed for Chapter 11 over the weekend after facing financial struggles for years.
The publisher had turned to ecommerce as a possible savior. But the New York Post reported, "The spectacular flop may serve as a cautionary
tale to hard-pressed publishers who try to venture into e-commerce as a way to offset slumping print advertising circulation and revenue."
Craft industry publication Craft Industry Alliance summed it up as follows: "A combination of declining subscriptions and ad revenue, plus a misguided
effort to shift into ecommerce, led to a whole lot of debt."
Many F+W magazines may be recognizable to EcommerceBytes readers. Collectibles titles include Antique Trader, Bank Note Reporter,
Coins, Goldmine, Military Trader, Military Vehicles, Numismatic News, World Coin News, and Sports Collector
It also publishes books, calling itself the leading publisher of illustrated non-fiction books in art instruction, crafts, writing, genealogy, antiques and
collectibles, woodworking, and the outdoors. "F+W is a major book publisher, producing and marketing hundreds of new book titles annually, and has a backlist
of some 2,000 titles.
Last year, publishing trade publication Folio reported on a house-cleaning effort in January 2018 when the company's board dismissed its CEO, COO,
and CTO in one fell swoop.
It will be interesting to see what becomes of the company and its assets now.
Interesting indeed. The Comments section is worth reading, with a screed about the former short-term CEO who "made fun of the staff at industry events
where he spoke. If he was challenged by anyone on staff he would reply "I built the NY Times website, I know what I'm doing." I guess we know that that turned
Bankruptcy rids the company of its debt. I fear that could include its obligations pay pensions and other benefits to current and former employees. But none
of this means the publications can't survive, or even thrive under new owners with a more realistic business model and guidance from people who actually
understand the niche areas the publications cover. But that won't be easy at this point, and the numismatic publications could be merged away or shut down
completely if new owners can't be found. For the time being at least, the company plans to remain in operation while it liquidates its holdings.
To read the complete article, see:
Ecommerce Could Not Save Niche Magazine Publisher
To read Coin World's coverage, see:
Hobby publisher F + W Media files for
Howard Daniel writes:
I remember that first year F+W owned Krause Publications and most of it started going downhill. I was often driving up to Iola and contributing to them and
living in one of the guest houses. Everything was going well but once the "ivory tower" took over, things here and there started to fail without explanation.
It is really a sad situation.
Here's a link to the bankruptcy filing; it has several links to other information including the full list of creditors and the claims agent. A sad end
for a century-old firm. -Editor
Wayne Homren, Editor
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