Rodale Publishes Nearly Up To Date Back Issues on Google

- - Magazines, The Future

Looks like Rodale has some sort of partnership going with google or maybe they’re just giving in to the inevitable and allowing the scanning of all but the latest issues of the magazine. I found all these titles with the last 3 years of back issues available up to the November or December 2008 issue: Best Life, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Bicycling, Prevention, Organic Gardening, Mountain Bike Magazine, Running Times and Runners World.

It’s somewhat ironic that a company with a stable of magazines that rely on dispensing the same advice year after year (how to get 6 pack abs!) would be the first to enter that information into a permanent database where anyone can look up content.

I’m not sure how the rights are going to be handled with this if at all. Publishers are already barred from selling the content to online databases (according to this) without renegotiation of the rights so I guess giving it away is the only way it can be done without paying extra. So, why is Rodale doing this? My only guess would be, to snag potential readers who might stumble on the content and discover they like it, but would rather have it delivered in the usual format.

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best-life

There Are 14 Comments On This Article.

  1. It looks like the interns at Rodale got their work cut out for them. but serious I’m looking into it because a couple of those covers are mine as well as images within. Based on that Greenberg lawsuit , I’m sure that’s their legal right to do this without spending more money on usage.

  2. I stopped buying photography rags because, with the exception of reviewing the latest and greatest from gear manufacturers, they keep recycling the same info (Secrets of the Pros Revealed) and not much else.

  3. I think the answer is pretty clear why Rodale is doing this: ADVERTISING.

    The provided magazines have not be scanned and posted sans advertising. Each and every one has been included.

    Unlike web ads that are relegated to being banners or skyscrapers or pop-ups – all of which can be easily ignored or blocked – here the ad is returned to it’s FULL PAGE glory that fights for and often wins dominance over the content it is placed beside. That is quite the value added for future and returning ad customers.

    As always with any google application there are also the ever present sponsored links, which I’m sure Rodale is seeing some revenue from. This is the ultimate double dip – getting ad revenue for providing content that is half filled with ad space for which you’ve already been paid!

    And finally, the content of each magazine is searchable. I search one issue for “abs” which returned as results both editoral content AND advertisments.

    If the future is digital and online Rodale has just found a way to make a three year back catalogue a little more relevant and bring in a little more revenue.

  4. When you look at the media kits of most publishers, they list circulation and secondary views. Without increasing circulation, they have managed to increase secondary views of ads. Whether or not they increase their page rates, they have now made these publications more enticing for advertisers.

    Regarding the legal issues, I think it might be open for challenge. The revenue generated would be indirect, and possibly difficult to prove. The other issue is who would challenge them in court in the current economic environment.

  5. This is sad. Our newspapers and Magazines are stuck in the printed page mentality. Most of us read our newspapers online, most would love to read our magazines online. They need to figure out how to make money from online distrubutions. The online version need to be online friendly. It would require a change to the business model that has worked for years. It seems to me most magazines have forgotten what they are, words and images arranged in a compelling way, regardless of the media – newspaper, or online. Most magazine websites are just ads for getting you to purchase the printed magazine. I’m really not sure why magazines have a hard time getting ad prices that work for online content. I would think a great webdesign, with cutting edge technology and content would bring readers. Instead we get scanned in pages of past stories no one will be reading. OY!

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  7. This is an interesting development, I have a spread of street portraits in the current issue of Menshealth, I’m not sure I’m being paid for web usage. Its almost like a republication of the magazine.

    • Oswald Bates

      @Nick Turpin, Love the video, man. Sent it over to Strobist. cool snaps.Thanks for sharing.

  8. What good are these? How am I supposed to read these while on ‘the throne’??

    (and no, taking my laptop in isn’t a viable alternative).

  9. Bah

    I want hard copy when I’m in the sauna or, as has been said, when on the throne.

    But Magazines aren’t textbooks, they are disposable reading, longer articles than in the newspaper but not more important.

    Yes a magazine subcriber goes for about two years by which time he realizes that “get that 6pack-abs for summer” is the same article as last year. And…..

    Look, fitness hasn’t changed since Sandow. What changes is the kids who are 20. So what’s the harm of putting the back issues online?

    I want something I can read in the sauna, or on the throne, and I am 20 so I figure what I discover is brand new. In other words, I don’t mind spending the price of a magazine to get a glossy hardcopy of what my father knew 20 years ago in a pulp magazine format.

    Kim Taylor