Charles Basenga Kiyanda

Lenswork goes green

It’s no secret that I love the photography magazine “Lenswork“. The only thing wrong with this publication is that there would never be enough issues in a year.

I received a one year subscription as a christmas gift this year and this second issue and was pleasantly surprised when I read the editorial. The staff of Lenswork decided to pull the magazine from the shelfs. It used to be that there were three ways to buy Lenswork. You could go to a store and find it on the shelf and buy it there (at 13$ and issue). You could go on their website and order a single issue that they would mail to you (at 13$ an issue). Finally, you could subscribe to the magazine and receive it every two months (at an equivalent of about 6.50$ an issue).

This issue’s editorial explains how most magazines only sell about 30% of the issues that go on the shelves and most of the printed copies end up being destroyed. Not very green. As they correctly point out:

That means that 70% of the trees that are harvested, 70% of the paper that is produced, 70% of the ink that is consumed, 70% of the binding, labor, fuel for transportation to and from the printer — 70% of all these resources are wasted, and for a silly reason. As you know, magazines are chock-full of advertising and the rates the publishers charge their advertisers is based on distribution numbers. Therefore, magazines are highly motivated to distribute as many copies as they can. Whether or not they sell is of secondary concern. [Emphasis in original text.]

Hence, in an effort to minimize the environmental impact of the publication, lenswork has decided to stop shipping copies to store. You can now pre-order, before an issue comes out, on their website or subscribe and get it sent to you every two months.

As is also described in the editorial, this is the second move Lenswork makes that goes against conventional business practices. Indeed, there is no outside advertisement in Lenswork. That is, they advertise (discretely) their† workshops, but nobody else advertises. Not Pentax, not Canon, not Nikon, not Manfrotto. Lenswork is essentially 100% content. So every time you buy a copy of lenswork, you’re essentially buying a small photography book, with the quality that one would expect.

Needless to say, all of my photography friends can expect copies of Lenswork in the mail whenever I have a reason to send them a gift!

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