Can 4C Save Auto Restorer?

AR postCan Auto Restorer continue to defy the odds?

During the mid-nineties, publishers’ collective envy of this niche title’s impressive circ, somewhere in 100K paid range and renewal rates around 80% (current circ about 48K), were the talk of the town. In 1997, Auto Restorer transitioned from full color to B&W. Today with 4C pressmen about as active as the Maytag Repairman, AR is returning to a full color format effective with the March 2008 issue.

Legions of DIY shade-tree mechanics will be needed to keep the presses rolling for this venerable title. And the wealth of timely and free resto tips online lay the groundwork for challenging times ahead at AR. Frankly, I don’t see color adding much value to the mix. And the publication’s website falls dramatically short of what it needs to be in order to retain readers… where’s the rich content including online videos of “How to Shop for a Mig Welder” and “Color Buffing Techniques?”AR is ripe for video how-to’s, but sadly none are available.

Sure, there’s a percentage of print-obsessed readers “who want to hold something in their hands” and I have a great answer to that one best left for another time and place. Should publishers continue to cater to an ever-shrinking percentage of their customer bases and, as a result, forgo pursuing a new breed of grease monkeys more attuned to laptops and Facebook?

And the kicker: No advertising graces the pages of AR. Well, if any Do-it-Yourselfer is like me, AR would seem the ultimate red-pen experience: I read, I want, I buy. What could be simpler?

There’s so much AR could do more of as their print business falls prey to superior online methods of conveying car and truck resto information. Or maybe, as with decades prior, this nifty publication will continue to buck the trends?

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  1. It has helped me with a lot of restoration problems including fiberglass repairs, paint, etc. I get all my info from the web and don’t subscribe anymore.

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