Current Trends

If you’ve been keeping up, publishers are having a heck of time these days.  Many long time newspapers have either stopped publishing or are on the ropes. Magazines are dropping like flies – many long time sportsfishing magazines have bitten the dust in just the past few years. Most publishers blame the internet and its ready source of free information.  I know quite a few publishers and we talk. Each year I can’t help but think that eventually the internet will catch up with RodMaker the way it has so many other magazines. But lately, I’m thinking that such a thing may still be a long, long way off.

For the first 8 or 9 nine years of its existence, RodMaker’s circulation figures grew every single issue.  By the 10th year, those numbers had leveled out.  I fully expected to see them begin to tumble. But they didn’t. Only during the onset of the recent recession did I see any reduction, but even that didn’t last long. RodMaker’s circulation recovered from that small dip and has remained amazingly steady over the last 4 years.  Not really growing, but not falling, either. All things considered, not a bad place to be in a time of serious recession.

I believe there are two reasons for RodMaker’s good fortune. First is that RodMaker has managed to stay far ahead of the internet in terms of new rod building information. Easily 90% of today’s popular rod building topics and techniques appeared in RodMaker up to 2 years prior to that same information trickling down to the internet. So where the newest methods and techniques are concerned, RodMaker is still king.

The second reason RodMaker continues to fare so well, I believe, has a great deal to do with the overall demographics of our craft. The vast majority of those who engage in custom rod building are of an age that typically does not live on the internet. Sure, most have internet access and use it regularly, but it’s not where they tend to turn, first, when they want information. Sure, that’ll change in time, but for the next few years at least, it’s safe to say that most custom rod builders aren’t living on the rod building forums and photo pages. Add up every current rod builder who is registered and active on all of the rod building forums combined (mine included) and you won’t have 10% of the total craft. It’s a fact – for every single rod builder actively utilizing an internet rod building forum, there are at least 5 RodMaker subscribers.

Maybe I should knock on wood. Then again, maybe I should just keep on doing what I’ve been doing.

Tom Kirkman