Coming in April: The New Popular Woodworking Magazine

Starting with the April 2010 issue, we will merge Popular Woodworking and Woodworking Magazine into one publication that features thicker and larger paper, a new design, and strong writing from a stable of world-class woodworkers , plus the same staff of editors you have come to trust.

The new magazine will be called Popular Woodworking Magazine and it will be published seven times a year. If you are a subscriber to both, or to Woodworking Magazine only, a cover wrap will explain how this change affects your subscription. The April 2010 issue mails to subscribers at the end of February and will be on newsstands everywhere in March.

Why are we doing this? First let me tell you what isn’t happening here. To a cynic this might look like a desperate act to stay in business. It’s not. Both of these woodworking magazines have posted solid profits year after year and are some of the best-performing publications for our parent company. That is the honest truth. While many of my friends in the media business have been furloughed or laid off in the last year, I’m not particularly worried about my job (knock wood).

So what gives? Well, the staff decided to merge these two magazines because we think we need to change the way we do business so we can grow and serve the woodworking community for many years ahead. In short, we are going to branch out even more into the Internet, DVDs, podcasts, social media and book publishing.

While the magazine is still the heart of this business , I do believe my veins are filled with ink and sawdust , we need to adapt to grow.

What are we changing? Like I said above, we’re going to print the new magazine on thicker, brighter and larger paper. Plus we’ve redesigned the magazine in a way that blends the nice color photography of Popular Woodworking with the understated look of Woodworking Magazine.

The changes, however, aren’t only skin-deep. We’re taking your favorite authors from Popular Woodworking , Adam Cherubini, George R. Walker, Bob Flexner, Michael Dunbar and David Charlesworth to name a few , and adding them to the no-crap, conventional-wisdom-be-damned  reporting in Woodworking Magazine. You’ll also see even more content online , from articles to blogs to video , and how the Internet content enriches and deepens the woodworking knowledge printed in the magazine. In short, every story in the printed magazine will have online content that allows you to dive deep into the aspects of woodworking that interest you.

I’m not going to kid you , some changes might unsettle you at first. Woodworking Magazine readers might be shocked to see some ads and color photos. Popular Woodworking readers might stumble when they encounter our willingness to venture into unexplored areas of the craft.

But rest assured, I think you’ll like the result. This magazine is put out by exactly the same staff that produced both Woodworking Magazine and Popular Woodworking. There have been no staff changes or reductions. I’m still the editor. Steve, Glen, Bob, Megan, Linda and Drew are all sitting at the same desks and doing their damndest to inform you about the craft.

So when the April issue arrives, take a close look. We have lots of interesting stories planned this year. (I can’t go into too much detail here because this is a competitive business.) And after you’ve read the issue, let us know what you think about the changes. We’re easy to get in touch with , our direct phone numbers and e-mail addresses are in every issue.

When it comes down to it, we’re just passionate woodworkers who want to continue writing, building and reading about woodworking for the rest of our lives. And with your support, we’ll all get to do that until they scrap the printing presses for good.

– Christopher Schwarz

25 thoughts on “Coming in April: The New Popular Woodworking Magazine

  1. Jonas

    I’ll miss the small pieces of philosophy and cool comments from WM unless you will continue to bring some in the new magazine.
    Brgds
    Jonas

  2. Terry

    Add me to the list of people who are unhappy with this news. I stopped reading PW years ago because it was really no different than all the other powertool-centric woodworking magazines on the stand. Woodworking is a completely different and unique publication that I enthusiastically read from cover to cover a few times. I’m very sad to see it’s demise. Even if the "new and improved" PW is 2/3 WW and 1/3 PW (as Chris stated in a comment reply to someone else in his blog), it is still going to be more ads than content, which I find unacceptable as a replacement for WW. <sigh>

    However, I’m particularly chuffed that I just renewed my subscription to WW a few weeks ago and there was no mention in the reminder letter that WW was on the executioner’s block. While I understand that your editorial team is at arm’s length from your circulation department, I still find it disconcerting and feel that it reflects badly on the integrity of your company’s business practices.

    Now I have to go through the hassle of contacting your circulation department to try and get a cancellation and refund. Grrrr…..

  3. Ric

    From what I see here and on the WM page, there is a common thread to the comments. I may have missed it, but I don’t think that there was a single comment that PW would be watered down by the merger, but most fear that WM will suffer from it for the following reasons.

    1. The loss of B&W pictures.

    I’m semi color blind, so it’s fine either way for me.

    2. The introduction of adds.

    Mostly a non issue for me, I have every faith that Chris and the lads/ladetts, can separate income from hands on experience. The fact that there would be adds on some of the pages simply means that unlike WM it would not be cover to cover read of "chocolaty goodness", but that pertains more to issue number 3.

    3. WM is to many, a cover to cover read, vs. PW’s occasional applicable article.

    This is my only concern. In truth, I cut my "woodworking teeth" by the pages of PW, and then discovered WM in the past couple of years. I recently moved across the country, and since the the mover was charging by the pound, I decided to only keep the magazine articles that mattered to me. In the end I was surprised that while not a single WM page was removed, the gathered pages of each years PW were roughly the equivalent of one or two full magazines. It became very clear to me that PW was no longer relevant to me, and I did not renew my PW subscription after that. Instead I purchase the occasional one that shows promise of being a better than average read.

    I don’t envy those that both had to make this derision, and are now taking the heat for it. PLEASE DON’T GIVE UP ON US!!! I know that it was not a change taken lightly, and I trust that you will try to be true to your WM readers.

    I can’t see how PWM can ever be as good as the near perfect WM, but I do understand that a blend of the two is better than no WM at all.

    Hang in there guys, I know you/we will get through this.

  4. Paul Fallert

    I dropped PopWW when it no longer appeared to be relevant for me. I have moved more towards hand-powered ww, and away from the powered variety.

    WW Mag was more to my liking. Practitioner to practitioner. What works and what does not.

    I became concerned about the "newest is better" tool craziness. Like some of the wives who chastised Chris S., acquiring and buying should not be the central purpose. The central purpose is making something of wood that hopefully is needed or useful. Many of my tool acquisitions, driven by the "it’s new so it’s better" have in retrospect not been wise purchases. I looked to the WW Mag editors to guide us based on what really works in the shop.

    How can you resist placating your advertisers?

    Paul

  5. Alan

    Just as I posted on Chris’ blog, I am not going to be renewing my subscriptions as Woodworking was the one magazine that I liked with no advertising. Yeah, I still have issues of Popular Woodworking coming, but big deal, Woodworking was the magazine I liked to read as it didn’t have any advertising in it. I understand the tough times, and the competitiveness in the publishing industry, but subscriber dollars are also tight these days and I don’t feel as free to just buy a subscription to have a bunch of ads falling out of the magazine and interrupting my reading…oh well, another one bites the dust…

    Cheers,
    Alan

  6. TOM MANVELL

    CHRIS
    The Merger Of The Two Mag’s Is An Excellent Idea…
    One Cost Instead Of Two
    One Tree Down Instead Of Two
    Woodworking Mag. Sometimes Not Aval..
    Advertisers Keep Us Abreast Of New Products
    U Missed Beer With Your’e Sawdust & Ink
    Best Of Luck On The New Venture
    TOM MANVELL

  7. megan

    Jeremy,
    I’m sorry – perhaps I didn’t word that correctly – what I meant was that we’re going to do our best to make sure no one feels as if they’ve lost money on either subscription. You’re right, of course; the new magazine will have advertising, and it will be in color, so it will be a big change in particular for WM subscribers. I can’t give you a direct answer on how the subscription fulfillment will work, as I don’t know; that’s being handled by our publisher and our circulation department. I do, however, know that if you are unsatisfied, we’ll refund your full subscription price(s) – but I hope you’ll first give the new magazine a chance.

  8. Marc Spagnuolo

    Personally, I say BRAVO! I can imagine the difficulty of producing two separate products with a rather modest (in size) staff. A merge like this allows you to pick and choose the best of each, and focus the entire team’s attention on a single publication. And with all the supplemental web content you mentioned, you guys are really going to have your hands full!

    It is very sad watching numerous publications go the way of the dodo. But most of them are holding strong to their traditional ways of doing business, then scrambling at the last minute to stay relevant. To me, this sounds like a pre-emptive move that could very well mean we’ll be enjoying Pop. WW’ing content for decades to come. Evolve…..or go extinct….

    I truly love the magazines, but I can’t wait to see what you guys do on the website! Good luck!

  9. Mike

    Megan, Chris, Bob, Glen, Steve, et al,

    Y’all are my favorite magazine authors, editors and publishers. I look at the combination this way: I need less storage for a single mag as two.

    I think that is about the largest impact this blending of the two magazines represent to me.

    I look forward to the first blended issue.

    All the best,

  10. Jeremy Burton

    Megan,

    As someone else that has a subscription for both magazines I worry about what this means.

    Youe comment to Dave about getting the pages we paid for rather misses the point. There were 2 magazines, one with no advertising at all and a nice B&W format.

    The merger removes one of those. So, am will not be getting the pages I paid for as you put it. I’m certainly not getting B&W and no ads any more.

    The subscription issue is a general question and the policy needs to be published for all to see, not dealt with in a private e-mail. Frankly one of the 2 subscriptions should be considered cancelled and the outstanding balance returned. Since I paid for 3 years of PW and WM in advance this seems fair.

    As for quality in the future – time will tell. I suspect that what we will end up with will not be nearly as compelling WM, a magazine I would never have considered dropping a subscription to.

    PW, I can take it or leave it by and large. I find It hard to believe that the result of the merger will be as compelling as WM.

    Sad, sad day.

  11. David

    Hmm – Well, I view this as unfortunate, largely for selfish reasons. I subscribe to Pop woodworking, Woodworking Magazine, and Fine Woodworking, and used to subscribe to WoodWork magazine before it was bought by the publishers of American Woodworker.

    The problem for me is that Fine Woodworking is going downhill as fast as the obstinate and foolish editors can press the accelerator to the floor, and my intent was to let the subscription lapse.

    Which left me with two very enjoyable, very good mags – PWW and Woodwork. I’m unconcerned that I won’t somehow get my money’s worth out of 2 subscriptions in one magazine – it is not, after all, acceptable to be cheap, and magazine subs cost less than a weekly tab at Starbucks.

    The concern is that there’s only one really good magazine showing up in the mailbox, and it looks like the publication schedule means it will be about once every two months.

    By the way – none of the articles may have made the top ten download list – primarily because downloaders are likely to be only looking for a specific project – but the best issue of ANY woodworking magazine that’s been published in the last 10 years was one of last year’s Pop Woodworking mags – the one with Roy Underhill on the cover. A really incredible effort with every one of the articles being "keepers".

    I’d use that issue as a model for your new effort.

    Keep up the good work.

    David in Raleigh, NC

  12. megan

    Lise,
    I certainly understand the concern, but we categorically _do not_ and _will not_ allow advertising to sway our editorial objectivity.
    Megan

  13. Lise Charlebois

    The number one reason I purchased my subscription to Woodworking magazine was that it had no ads. In my mind, this meant that I could trust whatever was being said, without having nagging doubts about whether or not a major advertiser had to be appeased. The merger changes that. What a shame.

  14. John Griffin-Wiesner

    I get them both, but much prefer WM. It sounds like you’re leaning a bit more in that direction (hopefully not selective reading on my part). But as long as it’s the same crew behind it, I feel good keeping my high expectations for your work.

    Looking forward to it.

  15. megan

    David,
    We didn’t have the go ahead on the merge before the Winter 2009 Woodworking Magazine went to the printer, so yes, it went out before the decision was final. And on that subscription problem – send me your address in an e-mail and I’ll ask circulation to look into it for you.

  16. megan

    Dave,
    I don’t know the exact formula, but it will be on a coverwrap on your April issue with information specific to your subscription, and how it will be fulfilled — but rest assured, you’ll get all the pages for which you paid.

  17. David DeLano

    I get both, and like both magazines for different reasons. I LIKE the B&W or sepia or whatever in Woodworking Magazines. They seem to bring out details that a color photo cannot. I hope you don’t completely lose those photos. I even enjoy them in the blog entries.

    So, I had recently received my winter 2009 Woodworking Magazine. It has a paper cover on it, but it doesn’t say anything about combining the two magazines. In fact, it tells me this is my last issue (which it shouldn’t be since I’m only a couple issues into a new subscription) and wanting me to renew. Did these go out before the merger was decided?

  18. Dyami

    Best of luck, guys. As an avid magazine reader, I don’t usually take kindly to format changes. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, so go make a great magazine.

  19. Josh

    Does this mean that we will get a revamped web interface (new site, new content, better organization)?

    Best of luck. Looking forward to April.

  20. megan

    Kurt,
    Though we haven’t yet discussed end-of-the-year plans for 2010 (heck – we’re still trying to make it through the end of 2009!), I’ve no doubt we’ll offer some type of comprehensive PDF compilation.
    Cheers,
    Megan

  21. Chuck Nickerson

    Sigh. Mergers always make things worse, never better. Best of luck breaking a previously unbroken trend.

  22. Kurt Schwind

    Year over year I drool over Pop Woodworking in the stores, but I hold off and buy the year of Pop Woodworking on CD. I’m trying to save the trees for my wood-working projects instead of the magazines I read. 🙂

    Are we still going to get that option at the end of the year? I find those PDFs very useful. And I can read them on my linux or mac machine with no problem.

  23. Megan

    Lyle,
    Yes, the Winter 2009 issue was the final edition of Woodworking Magazine. We’ll miss it, too – but you’ll see a lot of the look and attitude of "WM" in the new "PWM."
    Megan

  24. Lyle

    Chris:

    I for sure will miss the Woodworking Magazine; it was truly unique. So is Winter 2009 the final one for Woodworking Magazine?

    Thanks

    Lyle

Comments are closed.