My view: Welcome to the other side!
By Dave Duffy
Welcome to the Other Side! Backwoods Home Magazine has successfully passed through the wormhole in the publishing universe and emerged as a digital magazine. I see that more than 80% of our print issue subscribers stayed behind, but maybe they’ll make the trip later. I don’t like radical change either, and BHM going from a print magazine to a digital magazine certainly constitutes a radical change in the fabric of the publishing world.
We have just over 5,000 paid subscribers as we embark on this digital-only life on Amazon’s Kindle platform. But “digital-only” is somewhat of a misnomer, since each December we will publish a 350-page paper anthology that will include that year’s digital issues. We’re more of a hybrid magazine now, mainly digital but once a year we will put one foot back in the print world and publish another of our big anthologies. We have 25 of them now in print, and by Feb. 15 we’ll print two more for our years 2016 and 2017.
If you do not subscribe to the digital issue but we have your email address, we will notify you when we publish a future print anthology. If we have only your snail mail address, you’ll want to watch our website (www.backwoodshome.com) for an announcement of a new print anthology. We don’t plan on sending out many snail mail notifications in the future because that is expensive. After all, it was the cost of paper and postage that forced us to go digital in the first place.
Our new website has been launched simultaneously with the publication of this first digital issue. It is reorganized with the intent of showing the voluminous amount of thoroughly researched and well written self-reliance material we have produced during the past 28 years. We have become, by default I suppose, the new Foxfire-type series of books thanks to our anthologies, having accumulated over three decades the wisdom and how-to knowledge of everything that involves self-sufficiency.
You can search our website using a variety of easy-to-do ways, and you will most likely find an article on how to accomplish whatever it is you are doing, plus we’ll provide links to other online material, including videos, that further support the articles. The website also features frequently updated blogs by Jackie Clay-Atkinson and Massad Ayoob, a Twitter feed by me, a Forum where you can swap ideas with other self-reliant folks, and all sorts of recipes.
The website is FREE, as always, but there are advertisers on it we hope you will support. If everyone who used our website spent only a dollar per year on our products, we’d be able to ride to the bank in a golden carriage. But we know that won’t happen, so we’ll settle for a few of you buying our yearly anthologies or other print books we’ll be publishing in the future.
I look at us traveling from the print world to the digital world the same way I have looked at everything else in life. I see opportunity. This is not only a journey into the future that all print publications will be forced to make, but it represents a better way forward. When I wrote an article a while back about how to build a good chicken tractor, the internet allowed me to research, in a single day, everything in the field of movable chicken housing. I then blended that information with my experience as a builder, keeper of chickens, and writer to create an easy-to-understand article on how to build a very good, inexpensive, easy-to-move chicken tractor. It was a great way to advance the availability of chicken-keeping knowhow. The article is on our website.
In this issue, John Silveira takes chicken knowledge back in time to show how chickens and other birds are the descendants of dinosaurs. He not only tells their story with excellent photos, but gives links to other pertinent sites, including videos that show the intelligence and cunning of these modern day predators. This way of marrying a good, insightful article to other relevant online information is part of the publishing future, and we’ll do this with more and more of our articles.
This is not some scary odyssey we have embarked on by taking Backwoods Home Magazine digital. It is an exciting adventure into a future filled with exciting possibilities. I look forward to being a pioneer in the changes reshaping the publishing industry, and I think Backwoods Home Magazine can play a major role, just as we have played a major role in reshaping the self-reliance industry during the past 28 years. — Dave Duffy