August, 2009

"IS THE FAT LADY SINGING?"


Commentary by Cherie Jung

Many of our long-time readers will know that omdb! has existed in one form or another for the past 20 years. We began as a BBS (bulletin board) back in 1989. Around 1992 we added a print magazine. Sometime later, the exact date escapes my memory, the BBS evolved into omdb! The Mystery Magazine Online.

A few years ago (Yikes! Has it been that long already!?!) the owner of the printing company who printed our magazine decided to retire. We'd already lost one printing business and then we lost the second one. It put a big glitch in our printing schedule. Just when it looked like we might have found a new printer...(printing our magazine format is something many printers don't want to bother with)...I suffered a stroke. Recovery is progressing as well as can be expected, or so my doctor says. In the mean time I've been hankering to get a new print issue of the magazine out.

I suppose for now, it's not a very realistic idea. My medical bills are piling up, the economy is a mess, and there was never any profit in the magazine even back in the "good old days." We never even broke even on an issue. Which got me to thinking.

How do other mystery websites afford the various costs that go with staying online? We have the cost of having the website hosted (We don't have to pay a lot because one of our personal friends rents us space on the server where his websites are located. We're welcome as long as we don't hog too much server space.) Then there are the costs associated with re-packaging and mailing review copies of books and movies to the various reviewers. As you know, postage costs just keeping increasing. I won't bore you with a litany of additional costs...

How do other mystery magazines afford to keep printing?

Are we approaching a time where the only access to many things mystery readers enjoy, like book reviews and short stories, are limited to personal blogs, forums, Amazon.com, and one or two magazines?

I know times change and what people want for entertainment changes but we've already lost so many mystery and crime magazines, and websites, over the past few years...Is the end in sight for omdb! and others? It brings to mind the old saying, "It ain't over until the fat lady sings."

Is the "fat lady" singing?

cj



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