Thursday, October 27, 2005

The CapeBretoner gives up the struggle

Blair Oake, the publisher of The CapeBretoner magazine, has announced that the magazine will cease publication effective with a final, December 2005 issue. It's a great loss. The magazine has struggled for 13 years to maintain itself as a publication for people who are Cape Bretoners, or wish they were.

Advertising was always a problem, particularly given that more than half the audience was scattered across five time zones (as Cape Bretoners went "off island" to get good paying jobs in places like Toronto and Fort McMurray). The magazine relied upon its owners, City Printers of Sydney, to provide a home and a subsidy. They decided this could not continue any longer. There is no word yet if the subscription database of about 4,100 will be fulfilled by another magazine, as is sometimes the case in such a closure. City Printers has chosen to take the highly unusual (and honourable) step of to refunding unusued portions of active subscriptions.

The magazine's website contains the same message that is published in the October issue of the magazine announcing that, more in sorrow than anger, the magazine will cease publishing. It means that an estimated 17,000 readers will find themselves without a magazine that was a special mix of history, folklore, quirky commentary and island lifestyle. It operates from Sydney, Nova Scotia on an island (really, a peninsula, since it was joined by a causeway) that has suffered from high unemployment and de-industrialization. While the magazine had a lot of loyal on-island advertisers, there was never enough to sustain the magazine. There was virtually no national advertising simply because the magazine was so small and served a market that advertisers didn't want to reach.

What The CapeBretoner had was a modest, loyal readership and, as in other such circumstances, they don't have much of a say in what happens to their magazine.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the kind words, but Capers would challenge you on one point: Cape Breton is not part of the Nova Scotian peninsula. The causeway might connect us to the mainland, but we're still on an island. A canal that allows shipping to slip through the Canso Strait breaks up the causeway connection. We remain surrounded by water.

Tom Ayers, Editor
The Cape Bretoner

1:37 pm  
Blogger D. B. Scott said...

A typical, Upper Canadian mistake. My apologies.

2:03 pm  

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