Two Industry Events You Should Attend

At one time, our industry was rife with conventions. The newsstand business supported a professional organization called the “Council for Periodical Distributors of America”. It was helmed by John Harrington, currently an industry consultant and voice of the industry newsletter, “The New Single Copy.” The country was broken into regions and each of these regions had their own meetings. If you were a publisher or consultant, you could attend numerous industry functions throughout the year.

That all changed with consolidation and the closing of CPDA. For awhile, the trade organizations, PBAA and the MPA held separate “Retail” oriented conventions. But in 2009, in the face of declining attendance, the two merged.

The result was a changed meeting. The best part of PBAA, the non-stop ability to have face-to-face meetings with suppliers, retailers, wholesalers and distributors continued. And the organization formerly known as MPA was able to bring in some big guns for presentations on the latest in the publishing (media) industry and attract more retailers to come and meet with publishers and distributors.

If you’re not doing much more than working at your desk from June 12 – 14, book a ticket and get to Baltimore for the 2011 PBAA/MPA Marketplace meeting.


Book your tickets and get your one-on-one meetings set up early. The cost of the convention is well worth a fully booked meeting schedule. In the space of two days, you can complete what would normally take you weeks of phone calls, emails, and delayed flights to LaGuardia, Atlanta, Ft. Myers or Dallas.

Last fall, I had the distinct privilege to attend Dr. Samir Husni’s Magazine Innovation Center’s first convention: The ACT Experience. The meeting was a wonderful experience and an introduction to publishers I had heard of, but never met.

None of the usual suspects were there. And practically no one from the newsstand side of the business was there.

Let me explain: No one from Hearst, Time-Warner, Wenner, or any of the other big publishers that I usually see making Power Point presentations at the PBAA were up in front of the audience. While I recognized many of the publishers and service providers who made presentations, they were not the major players in the industry. We were treated to some fascinating presentations from publishers based in Brazil and the Netherlands and their positive, “This is how we made this work” outlook was a breath of fresh air. I learned to look at our industry in an entirely different light and got to hang out with people I would never have met under any other circumstance.

I also got to have lunch with a publisher who bravely asked me, “So how come the newsstand stinks so much.”

I didn’t flinch. And because I was in the South and a guest of Mr. Magazine, I behaved very politely gave him a workable answer. I hope it helped.

The only other people from our side of the business who were there were John Harrington of the aforementioned “New Single Copy” and Baird Davis, also an industry consultant and former VP of Circulation for Ziff-Davis. Both gave able presentations on the state of our business. But more voices, and different voices are needed to represent us (and I don’t mean on the podium, I mean in the audience).

The second ACT Experience, ACT 2: Restart Your Engines will happen in Oxford, MS this October 26 – 28. Watch the Mr. Magazine blog for more details, book a ticket to Memphis and get ready.

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