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Chris Knight

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First I should thank Andy King for visiting these forums and being prepared to discuss his business, I take my hat off to people like him - actually wanting to talk to customers or potential customers. Too many people who take our money in one way or another are not at all prepared to discuss their products.

Andy I was struck by what you said in the HSE thread, quoted here:-

andy king":ys3xe2k3 said:
Again, our magazine is aimed at a mainstream audience, so we try and cater for all which is very difficult. Our subscriber base is pretty loyal, but the browsers, and I was one myself, will pick up each mag, whether it is ours, Woodworker, Practical, Trad, or New Woodworking and decide each month what they want to read and buy accordingly.
Trying to find out what makes an issue sell better than others when you have so many variables such as tool tests, projects, features and also what your rivals put out that month and how you can make the next issue do better based on the same criteria is an impossible task, but we persevere!
:D
In a few words you have managed to illustrate what I feel is basically wrong with our domestic mags.

First, "a mainstream audience" is almost by definition, not everyone and yet you go on to say you try to cater for all. I wonder which you mean and why? What is the real mission of your magazine ?(sorry about the dated management consultancy jargon). Presumably it is to do more than make money otherwise you might as well sell drugs or rob banks. It sounds from what you say that you are choosing to compete on exactly the same basis as pretty well every other UK magazine with the result that your offering is not sufficiently distinctive so as to cause people to subscribe more willingly. Indeed, why should they if they can't have some sort of guarantee that what they read will be different from what the other magazines are publishing?

Inevitably, given the difference in populations, we will have smaller readerships in the UK than in the USA but it is not 17 times different - as the relative readerships of GW and FWW would indicate.

My prescription is simple. Don't follow the herd. Set out a direction that stands for something that people can identify with and stick to it. Dump the YABBA (Yet Another Bird Bath Articles) - OK so you don't do these but you know what I mean. Try for the inspirational. Audiences move on and become more sophisticated - why always try to cater for the lowest common denominator?

Andy please forgive my rant, I shall cut it short here - I think you will get my drift! Thankfully I don't have to make my living from publishing and so stand to be corrected on everything I have said.
 

Gill

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Hi folks

My copy of GWW arrived in the post this morning and I'm sorry to say how disappointing it was. All it featured was boring articles such as how to build a three piece suite that will look fashionable long after the tat from retail warehouses have fallen to bits. There was also a guide to buying tablesaws - honestly, how much more of this can we take?

So I've come up with some suggestions that might have a wider appeal:

A feature entitled "I'm a Calamity. Get Me a Router, Dear." In which inept woodworkers are dropped into the Australian outback with nothing more than a generator and a router. They have to use their router to build insect traps to catch their tucker.

You could also have something called "Countdown", in which woodworkers have to empty their workshops in a matter of minutes and then explain why there isn't enough space for all the tools to go back in, identifying those which they'll be most unhappy to see languish out in the rain.

How about a "Top of the Pops" feature with a list of the most popular tools sold that month?

Of course, you could always have a makeover section with experts such as Trinny and Suzanna or Linda Barker explaining what are the must-have accessories for fashionable woodworkers this month. We need to know if Lie-Neilson is 'in' and Clifton is out'.

The scope is endless. All it takes is a bit of imagination... :wink: .


Yours

Gill (who's heading off to the bunker once more before anyone from the sanatorium can catch her)
 

trevtheturner

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Can't agree with the above at all - not every reader is a 'moved-on' sophisticate!

I subscribe to Good Woodworking because I like it better than the other mags. Yes, it does cater for the unsophisticated but beginners, too, need helpful advice. It also caters for the more advanced. It provides useful tools and machinery tests, reviews and opinions, as well as providing readers with the opportunity to seek specialist advice, to share their tips and to show their work.

Many seem to be happy with it, whatever the specific definition of 'mainstream audience' might be and it is, apparently, Britain's biggest-selling woodworking magazine so there cannot be too much wrong with it.

Rant over.
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi all

Yesterday morning GWW arrived in the post and this morning it was The Woodworker. Now with yesterday being the day before Valentine's day, it means that GWW sits around unread until Sunday. The same will go for The Woodworker.

Surely these magazines should have more consideration for us and deliver at least two days before Valentine's day or the day after. Don't they know that the day before is dedicated to getting the best card possible and also sorting out the last minute arrangements for flowers and maybe, even a present. :roll:

Cheers
Neil
 

Adam

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Exactly Neil.

GWW yesterday, F&CM this morning. Other than a quick glance, they will have to hidden lest I be accused of not paying enough attention to SWMBO. And where was the guide in it - the "useful gadgets to buy your obsessed husband this valentines day??" I ask you? That you can leave conveniently open on that particular page? And they both had the same question from Aidan in the letters section :shock:

Perhaps GWW and F&CM have merged :twisted:

Adam
 

Adam

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One other thing, I noticed in the Tablesaw section, they were rating the Kity 419, but based on the difficulty Steven Prigg had obtaining one (albeit without the sliding table), I don't think Phil Davy did his homework! If you look at the website he directs you to: www.kityuk.com they have gone into liquidation!

stevenprigg":3mc7mp4i said:
what can I say!! I finally managed to find a kity on thursday morning (after phoning round 20 shops and being told 19 times the kity have gone "under"), @ machinemart............sadly I was unable to find a shop that had the sliding table in stock (still looking).
 

Alf

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Honestly, you lucky Valentine's effected people. At least you won't be tempted to read GWW and F&C back-to-back playing "spot the difference"... :wink: Lessee: I've already got the Kity recommendation in GWW and the Kity bandsaw review in F&C, Aidan's letter in both, sharpening articles in both. I suppose I shouldn't count the ads? :twisted:

Pace Andy, I know it's just foul coincidence. Can't help wondering why I'm paying for two subs though! :lol:

But back to the topic... I think you have a point, Chris. Not so much to go for anything outlandish, but just for magazines to aim for a target audience. I think F&C does that pretty well, but GWW (and I only pick that because it's the one I read) can swing wildly between raw, low budget beginner to old hand, big budget, 12" 5 Hp table saw pro. Often in the same issue. Other mags, of course, just aim for the lowest common denominator all the time, and I avoid their nail gun-fastened and polyuckathaned pages accordingly. :wink: But of course it's easy to criticise but quite another thing to come up with the answer. :? I sometimes wonder if FWW's success isn't down to the aspirational factor. You don't come across many "here's a project I made from FWW" posts do you? But people still buy it. If you can crack why then the publishing world and everything in it is yours, and what is more you'll be an editor my son... Ooops, sorry. Lapsed into a touch of Kipling there. But then he does make exceedingly good cakes. :D

Gill, LOL :lol: But what about "Changing Workshops"? I can see it now. The tablesaw with dado blade sitting proudly in the middle of the purple-painted w'shop, all the hand tools chucked out to make more space for the router cutters... Shuddder :shock: Meanwhile some poor normite is wondering where his bobbin sander is amongst the MDF shelves full of old saws and planes :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi Alf

My pet hate is not getting what you see on the front cover. ALL the UK magazines do it.

Latest example - The Woodworker - Front Cover - 30 Best Ever Hand Tools
Now what do you think the article might be about? Perhaps I will learn something about hand planes?

Contents page - Top 30 handy tools :roll:
Now what do you think the article might be about? Oh oh, perhaps it's not going to be quite as advertised on the front page.

The article was actually about - Top 30 handy hand tools - :?

B & D Workbox
Magnetiser
Balcotan Rapid
Town & Country Belt
Paint pads

Oh and a Stanley block plane.

:x

Cheers
Neil
 
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Hi all

I find the UK mags pretty poor when compared to some (not all) yank versions. Only mag I subscribe to is Fine Woodworking (7 per year) as the articles have depth and variety and are wirtten by a wider range of contributors. I also find some useful tips.

I do occasionally buy furniture and cabinet maker and less often, The Woodworker, however, this is becoming rarer.

Whilst I appreciate that the yank mags have a larger circulation and budget, surely the brits can raise their game a little and compete on content and quality.

I am not saying that the brit mags are no good or critising the main contributors, just saying that I find the yank versions to be dissapointingly superior

Cheers

Tony
 

kityuser

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One other thing, I noticed in the Tablesaw section, they were rating the Kity 419, but based on the difficulty Steven Prigg had obtaining one (albeit without the sliding table), I don't think Phil Davy did his homework! If you look at the website he directs you to: www.kityuk.com they have gone into liquidation!

stevenprigg wrote:
what can I say!! I finally managed to find a kity on thursday morning (after phoning round 20 shops and being told 19 times the kity have gone "under"), @ machinemart............sadly I was unable to find a shop that had the sliding table in stock (still looking).
well what can I say, I can`t agree more, it took me more than 3 days of solid ringing around to find SOMEBODY who still had the kity sliding table in stock, one of the guys I spoke too promised me that I would`nt get one for love-nor-money!, its just plain STUPID that a mag is still reviewing tools that JUST ARE`NT AVAILABLE ANY MORE (I aslo have`nt seen any references in any mags that kity have got into trouble yet :shock: )

I have`nt been getting woodworking mags for very long (because I thought the quality just was`nt there) and I have to say I`m very disapointed! I`m an avid reader of GUITARIST magazine and have to say that I NEVER get bored of reading it, woodworking magazines it must be said are very dull !


has ANYONE noticed the way that the fella who wrote in with a "tip" to one of the mags for a "support system" for a grider (you know the one with the different coloured "chocks" that fit around the grinder wheel) for grinding different angles........... ITS IN EVERY MAG.... SAME PICTURE `AN ALL :shock: :D
that bloke must have won LOADS of gear!!!!

what can I say? the prosecution rests............
 

Alf

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Neil,

Yes well, The Woodworker started going downhill in about 1953... :wink: I'm intrigued, what was the argument for a woodworker buying a magnetiser then? :?

I think maybe we need to cut the mags a tiny bit of slack here, especially about the Kity stuff. Looking at the info on their site it seems there was trouble brewing at the end of last year, but nothing certain until January, and I bet that was after the current issues were put to bed. After all, none of us knew either, until Steven had his trouble finding a T/S. As for one bloke sending the same tip to all the magazines; well I just can't see how they'd be able to prevent that short of letting each other know what the contents of their next issue was going to be :shock: I suppose really those sending in their tips should police themselves and only send to one mag at a time. Yeah, right... :roll:

Maybe we need to try a more positive thread on this, to see which bits of the mags we do like? If we used the current issues of GWW, F&C, The Woodworker and maybe FWW perhaps we could find out if there is something that pleases everybody? :?

Cheers, Alf
 

gidon

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I'm surprised how there are no comments about Popular Woodworking (another American mag). This for me is the best all-round magazine. The quality is excellent. It's still inspirational like FWW (which I also like) but it's also slightly more realistic for the average woodworker. The projects are all well designed and executed. And you *want* to make them. Without being too unfair to the British mags - most of their projects are to be quite honest diabolical! But there is some personal taste coming in there I guess. And PW handles hand tools very professionaly - with some very useful articles that make you wander up to your shed and give them a go. OK for power tool reviews perhaps GW is more relevant. But their hand tool reviews are far superior.

GW in my opinion could learn a lot from PW. I think it does try and cater for too wide an audience. But on a positive note some of its articles are good (group tests) and I get the mag every month - Andy appearing on this forum also helps. He offers some good advice and seems to be interested in people's input.

The Woodworker was the first mag I used to get but now I have little good to say about it I'm afraid. Everything is too brief in my opinion.

The Router I quite like - not bad projects and some good contributors. Unfortunately a fair bit of overlap with sister mag F&CM.

F&CM I like but do find it a little pretentious sometimes. Something that PW and FWW seem to avoid - even though the standard of input is similiar. Still inspirational and a good read.

New Woodworking - well I have bought it a couple of times - but can't see who it's aimed at? Close to GW but I prefer GW. But I like your articles Ralph!

So I buy at least 3 mags every month - always PW, usually GW & F&CM, sometimes FWW (but pricey!) and the Router, and occasionally others. Spend far too much money!

Alf I've tried to be postive - but not always easy!

Cheers

Gidon
 

Alf

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Gidon,

I agree, Popular Woodworking's content is excellent. However, their blasted sub delivery is atrocious :evil: I'll probably give it up, purely because I'm fed up with having to contact them about every issue. So not even the 'Murrican's are perfect :wink:

Cheers, Alf
 

gidon

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Alf
Ah thanks for that - I haven't got around to subscribing to PW - so will bear that in mind.
Off to my shed right now to finish building that nice little support stand in the PW jigs issue ... Just what I have needed for a long time and have never got round to buying or building.
Cheers
Gidon
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi Alf

Alf":31m0pshr said:
I'm intrigued, what was the argument for a woodworker buying a magnetiser then? :? Cheers, Alf
Quote "Everyone should have a magnetiser in their workshop, for picking up dropped panel pins in the shavings or magnetising a screwdriver to hold fiddly screws."

How have you ever managed without one?

Cheers
Neil
 

Alf

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Neil,

Hell's teeth, you mean I need another tool?! Drat. Not sure how much use it'll be though, seeing as how I use brass fixings where I can, and they're always the ones that fall off the bench :?

Cheers, Alf

Thinking The Woodworker must have discovered a new form of wood that could be magnetised. Ironwood perhaps? :wink:
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi all

Fine Woodworking is an excellent magazine. I particularly like the fact then when they consider a project they will discuss the different ways of tackling things. I have seen them come up with six solutions but they are all discussed and shown even though they might not be the ideal solution.

My favourite UK magazine has to be The Router. I must admit to being particularly fond of my router, so this might have something to do with it.

Cheers
Neil
 
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I've subscribed to Fine Woodworking for the past year and won't be for the next year. I love the magazine but only a couple of them have turned up without me having to email them first.

Maybe you'll be luckier than me but don't count on it (I've heard many other people rant about their copies not being delivered).

Dave
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi Dave

Anonymous":3ggcgrt5 said:
I've subscribed to Fine Woodworking for the past year and won't be for the next year. I love the magazine but only a couple of them have turned up without me having to email them first. Dave
I've found that they have ended up sending me two copies. This has pappened at least twice last year. They've obviously got a problem and I thought it was just me.

Cheers
Neil

PS Is there another copy due soon?
 
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