August 31, 2010 · Comments Off on Concentrating on Concentrate

Last month, Gamebits made a big announcement: the availability of Juiced.GS in PDF format in a product separate from the quarterly print edition. The Concentrate line marks the first time ever that Juiced.GS content has been available as a commercial digital product. There were several motivations behind this launch, but I'll start by eliminating two: money and necessity.

Other print publications have perforce moved online to follow their readers, their advertisers, or both. Juiced.GS has neither of these concerns. Our subscriber base is currently the largest it's been in six years, representing a clear demand for a traditional print periodical.

As for advertisers, most magazines' revenue sources break down like this:

Magazine revenue

By contrast and without exaggeration, Juiced.GS's P&L spreadsheet indicates these revenue sources:

Juiced.GS revenue

This dependency on subscriptions is akin to being a privately owned company: we can do what we need to to satisfy our customers, instead of following the dictates and interests of outside investors. It's a wonderful freedom that has allowed Juiced.GS to achieve a longevity unprecedented in the Apple II's history.

So we don't have to move to a digital format — but do we want to?

Of course we do! There are obvious benefits to a PDF that we're excited to offer our readers. And the more formats and features we offer, the more capable we are of getting Juiced.GS into hobbyists' hands, where they can use that information to keep the Apple II alive. But there are also reasons for Juiced.GS remain in hardcopy. The challenge is to offer both editions without threatening each other.

At KansasFest, Rob Kenyon remarked that Juiced.GS Concentrate was a perfect solution. "It complements but does not compete with your flagship product," he said. He's right. Since the hardcopy Juiced.GS reports on what's hot, regardless of the theme, the two product lines are not substitutes for each other. Concentrate saves readers time and money by eliminating the need to purchase and refer to multiple issues or volumes to find just the articles they want, while anyone who wants to receive a quarterly periodical with the latest news, reviews, and interviews from the Apple II world will find it in each issue of Juiced.GS.

The first three volumes of Concentrate are just the beginning. We've already updated the initial batch of PDFs in response to reader suggestions, making them easier to navigate, and are looking to add more titles to our catalog. After buying the "Back to BASICs" volume, Wayne Arthurton shared his appreciation that the Applesoft code could be easily copied and pasted into his own programs — a quality that could explain why this Concentrate is selling better than others. Knowing whether these products are being used as convenient leisure reading or as technical references helps us decide what themes to compile into future Concentrates.

Ironically, none of the customers (potential or otherwise) who have asked for a PDF edition of Juiced.GS have responded to this product announcement, either with feedback or purchase; all our initial comments and sales have come from the same readers who have asked us to remain in print. Whether Concentrate serves current readers or expands to new markets is secondary to it being found useful.

If you have any questions or suggestions for the future of either edition of Juiced.GS, please let us know!

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