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Thread: Update on issue #9

  1. #1
    Administrator Brian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003

    Update on issue #9

    Dear subscribers,

    I happy to announce that the wait is over and that issue #9 will be published and out in the post around August 15th. I apologize for the wait, and know that this and other issues will prove to be well worth the wait.

    I'd like to take this opportunity to put some things in perspective for everyone, and I hope that by the time you've read this post, that you'll understand. First off, I'd like to let you know that I've spent the past month dealing with some personal family issues back in the States. Those closer to me already know about this, and I won't go into details here. If you've mailed me during this time, you may or may not have received a response.

    Now after returning to Japan and combing through volumes of mail, I found a query from a subscriber that obviously had not received a response from me and had informed me that he had posted his displeasure at this on another board. After having a look at what the subscriber obviously wanted me to see, I can see that there is conjecture that Koi-Bito has gone the way of another competing magazine and shut it's doors. I'd like to put that rumor to rest right here and now. As I've said before, if we are ever to shut down, you will hear it first from me, and none of you will be left holding the bag. That's my promise, and people that know me know that I don't fool around concerning monetary matters. I'm not sure of the situation with the one magazine that's ceased publication, but running off in the middle of the night is not my style. I'm in this because I absolutely love koi, and the last thing in the world that I would want is for my name to tarnished in the koi world.

    So now that it's established that we're not going out of business, let's go on to the next point. I'm not sure what everyone thinks a magazine is or should be. How should it be marketed,published, run or what have you. Sometimes I get the impression that some of you are under the impression that we are a big operation that rivals the likes of Time or Vanity Fair. I can assure you that we are not. Nor are we a publisher that is into other subjects. 90% of the work that you see in the magazine is normally performed by myself and myself alone.

    So just hire more people you say? Believe me, if I could afford to do so, I would do so in a heartbeat. I have outsourced some of the work starting with this issue with regards to layout, and that has indeed helped out quite a bit. It is extremely costly and it is difficult to find talented people here that have enough understanding of the English language that I don't have to review their work with great scrutiny. So it is both costly and still time-consuming for me to contract the work out. Ideally, even if I found someone to work full or part time (dedicated) on the magazine, current revenues do not allow for this. Anyone that runs a business knows that you can't take on liabilities unless you see a definite payoff that far exceeds the risk. I don't run the magazine on debt, and never plan to.

    Why are revenues so low, you ask? Doesn't the magazine sell well? Indeed it does. However, Japan is a high-wage, high-cost country. I shouldn't have to tell anyone in the hobby of that fact. 40% of the cost of the magazine goes to postage. Almost 50% goes to prinitng costs. The remainder goes to production expenses, travel, procuring rights for photos/articles not originating from myself, equipment, card/bank fees, etc. For profit, I am left with less that 1%. When you consider donations, magazines lost in the post, or non-payment for product given on credit, we're actually into negative numbers. Having our base in Japan, there's no legal foundation for us to collect on bad debt/delinquency. We simply have to eat it. Some of you reading this post may be reading magazines or watching DVD's produced by us that have never been paid for. Believe it or not.

    Okay, so your magazine is head and shoulders above the competition (what I hear from subscribers, not my own words) with original content that's in-depth with beautiful photography...surely the advertisers must must be beating a path to your door? Well, now we're on to something. Advertising is how any magazine makes it's money. When you buy a magazine and look at the listed price on the front cover, what you are paying for is the printing, distribution, and reseller profit costs. Profit for the publisher comes from the many, many adverts you see inside. More times than not outnumbering any meaningful content. Why don't more people advertise with us you ask? There are several reasons. While I'm grateful to the few professionals that do support the magazine and don't wish to step on anyone's toes, I'll let you know these reasons.

    1) Dealers already advertise with their "local" magazine. Many countries have a national koi society that is affiliated with local clubs and also have a magazine produced which is distributed to their members automatically. The quality of these magazines is usually mediocre at best, but for reasons of traditions/politics/simplicity, many dealers feel obligated to advertise with these magazines first. Failure to do so would make them be seen as not being a "team player" with regards to supporting the local koi society. I understand and sympathize with this. However, I feel it's a shame as the content of these magazines tend to be very loosely thought out, or in some cases controlled by business interests. I'll leave it at that. Some dealers that would like to advertise with us simply can't afford to do so (even though I think that we're more reasonable with regards to advertising costs than most others) as they're locked into or strongarmed into supporting " the local" magazine.

    2) Many dealers enjoy and confirm the quality and depth of the magazine, but see no reason to advertise. It's amusing when I see dealers selling a certain breeders' koi a few months after publishing an article. This can only be expected, and in some ways I feel very flattered. What's I do not like and have a real problem with is people that use my hard work as a platform to promote their own business interests without paying for it. As it dilutes the value of advertising in the magazine to those that pay for it. It hurts me, my advertisers, and ultimately it hurts all of you as lost or unrealized revenue has a direct correlation to how quickly I can publish each issue. As a subcriber that I admire told me once "You shouldn't have to be anyone's doormat with regards to free advertisers". He was right on the money...it has to stop, and it is going to stop.

    There's more that I have to write, but I'll save that until I see some responses posted first. Again, apologies for the publishing delays. I thought I'd give you just a bit of insight into what goes into supporting Koi-Bito. I hope that you can understand a little better, and I'm ready for your comments and rebuttals.

    Very best,
    Brian Sousa
    Koi-Bito Forum

  2. #2
    Tategoi jacovors's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    South Africa
    Hi Brian,

    Thanks for letting us know what's happening. I for one agree to KB being the best koi magazine out today. Our country are not as advanced in koi-keeping and if you want to learn you're better off reading about it in magazines and the internet than asking a fellow koi-keeper here.
    I look with envy at the filtration systems available for purchase in the UK,USA and even Australia and can only dream of winning the lotery in order to import me some.
    So you're magazine gives me the information that otherwise would not be available here and I am very thankfull for that.
    Now the big wait starts ,checking the mail daily for my next issue of Koi-Bito to arrive.
    Thanks for taking the chance, you are a brave man.
    Jaco Vorster
    South Africa

  3. #3
    Daihonmei dick benbow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    seattle, wa
    Thank-you Brian, for the time and effort given to your answer. I have always been a supporter, and appreciate not only the content of the magazine but the honesty,candor and integrity that you bring to it.

  4. #4
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Orlando, Florida
    I do not like the wait because I enjoy each issue so much. I'd much rather wait, however, than get a magazine filled with regurgitated content, superficial "color" stories and infomercials.

    It is the original and thorough content that makes K-B stand out.

    To get advertising, the advertiser needs a business reason to place the ad. If he thinks his customer base will see the ad in a mag where advertising is already placed, then why also place an ad in K-B? Well, if the advertiser is aiming for the higher level koikeeper, rather than the general watergardener with a few koi, K-B is where they will be found. Second, marketing experts agree that repetition is the key to getting through to the consumer. And, I for one will commit that I'll buy some of the koi food advertised in the next new ad in K-B. .... subscriber support helps!

  5. #5
    Daihonmei aquitori's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    NorCal Biotch!!!
    Brian, it's understandable....Being in publishing before it's a hard industry....Got say that with each delay you have never disappointed us one bit with the magazine's content. I hope all is well now with your family here in the states and I wish future success with the magazine.

    The world sleeps as the chance to learn something new passes.

  6. #6

    Thank you for the update.

    I immensely enjoy reading your publication. It is VERY original and I am extremely grateful for the depth of coverage in each issue. I appreciate that there are lots of things to consider/organise before you can even set out to research a topic: brainstorming an idea, research the topic, access to people, not to mention photos publications etc. I am sure I have missed many steps in the value chain so apologies if I have underestimated the work.

    You have my full support, for whatever it is worth and I look forward to the next publication!!

  7. #7
    Nisai Newt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    NewtCity, USA
    I'd just like to say, Brian, that I sincerely hope your family issues are taken care of and that all is well.

    Cheers, mate, and best of luck.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Only concern for me is - is my subscription up to date

    Keep them coming

  9. #9
    Sansai GazKoi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Essex UK
    I am with Grove and i think i mailed to find out as i was worried i would not receive the next issue and thats no good now is it.

    Brian i can fully understand how difficult this is and how hard you have to work,people sometimes just think because you have some kind of business you make a bucket load of money (if you do or don't doesn't matter) and think you can just go out and get someone to help......what they don't realize is cost wages tax and all the other stuff that goes with it !!!!!!!!

    Then there is because there is more of you then you must be able to make even more money been there seen it done it

    Good luck to you Brian and hope all is well with you and the family .....just hurry up with the next issue .....and how will i know if me subs are paid!!!!!!


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2004

    I used to be impatient with K-B but after your explaination before publishing issue #8, I have a lot of respect for you.
    You hold a full time job(only those who have worked in Japan know how stressful it can be) and only doing K-B part-time for the love of this hobby and to share with fellow koi-kichi around the world on what is happening in Japan koi world.
    I hope your family issue is not because you have lesser time for them.

    The quality articles in K-B is not something that I can find easily in other koi mag. I have not finished on Asagi that was explained in issue #8. Personally, I feel that it is no good just reading through a high info article without really understanding it or putting it to practical use. So I shown what is written on Asagi in issue #8 to some local dealers who frequent Japan and they have patiently explained to me on the many area that I do not understand.

    If I will to compare the quality articles content found in K-B than to other koi mag. that I also subscribed to, I would said that 1 issue of K-B is equivalent to 6 issue in other koi mag. Good articles in other koi mag. is like digging tons of soil just to find 0.1k of diamond. LOL.

    K-B and Nishikigoi Monthly(the 1 in Japanese, yes I can read some Japanese) will be the only koi mag. that I will renewed the subscription.


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