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Should the Courier be an online magazine?


JohnD
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I know this subject has been raised before, and that the Club has wanted to continue the printed version, because it gives them tax advantages (which I don't understand, but I'm no accountant).    I don't want to drag over cold coals, but The Marshal magazine published by the Motorsport Safety Fund closed down because it was too expensive  a print magazine, and has just now reopened as an online journal.  You can see the latest edition at:

 https://www.msauk.org/assets/emarshalnov2014.pdf

 

Please note the Editors comments on the restart at the bottom of page 2, especially about those who cannot access online.

 

The opportunities for member interaction and involvement are much greater online than in print.  Perhaps the Club will look at this again?

 

John

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At the moment the forum and the Courier are run entirely separately. A starting point could be to make them complementary.

So the Courier could highlight particular threads in the forum, or explain things in more detail. The forum could pick up where articles in the Courier stop, and add other people's experiences.

I currently value both the Courier and the forum. The Courier for a good read each month, and the forum where I can get rapid help with a problem, and can also give others the benefit of my experience.

 

What do other people think?

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The trouble with on-line only stuff is that the club effectively becomes a forum only with articles attached. At which point many members would be questioning why they are paying a membership.

 

re the tax thingy, my understanding is that much of our membership fees pay for the magazine which has a notional cost. And magazines are VAT free (at the moment) Which is why all club magazines have a "price". Saves a fortune in VAT....

 

Something like that anyway.

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Appreciate the idea JohnD but have to disagree at the moment.  Yes - many of our members would and could access an online magazine, but we have to remember that the Club must cater for all its members, and there are still a substantial number who do not use the internet.  As an AO, I know I have a considerable number of members who do not use email and we must assume that they would not be able to access an online copy.  For my part - I welcome the chance to get away from a screen and pick up the Courier which is always a good read.

We are members of other small and local clubs, a couple of whose magazines we do get online.  They have neither the content or the size of the Courier and another point is that many of us struggle with big downloads (yes we are in rural Devon with a max speed of 1.5MG on a good day).  I find that, although I regularly read the online versions, my husband rarely does and I think that may be the case in a lot of households.

Apart from that, the Courier is a powerful marketing tool for us at events and I would be loathe to see it turn into online only.

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JohnD

 

Sorry John, but I'm another dynasaur against the idea!  I agree with everything said against your idea.  Sometimes it's nice to sit in an armchair with a cuppa and just muse your way through the mag (I am in deapest Cornwall and it's not true that we have superfast broadband!).  The other consideration is the tax advantage, which I know CoM review from time to time, so if this advantage diminishes beyond any real advantage, I'm sure we will hear about it and be asked our opinions.

 

I agree that the Forum and Courier could be more joined up, but it's difficult when one is, essentially, two months behind the other.

 

... but it's good to debate!

 

Regards

Mike

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What did happen to the dinosaurs?

Oh, yes, they are all DEAD!

 

Did any of you, anyone at all,  read The Marshal, and the item from the Editor saying that he realised that there would be some who were stuck in the 19th Century  unable, or did not wish to receive an online journal?   And that a print version would continue to be available?

 

John

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There is no reason why the Courier can not be placed on the club website at the same time it is posted out.

 

The problem comes when people ask for a discount in lieu of receiving the print version, both from a taxable position and a revenue position.

 

You could probably get round the taxation problem by "keeping" the members printed version for them in a store, and not offering a discount on the membership.

 

Cheers

 

Colin

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Colin

 

Sorry, but I disagree.  The taxation is a VAT problem and quite complicated to get right, you simply HAVE to receive your printed Courier.  Furthermore, if everything was on the website why should anyone join?  Everything you need will be on line and easily accessed free!

 

I am not anti website, or electronic information, quite the reverse; I just want to see the Club survive and be healthy ... and debate (like this) keeps it healthy.

 

Regards

Mike

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Me too, I prefer to read from paper than from a display and I like to put a copy on the shelf in my collection. Although  I definitely would benefit from an online copy as currently I'm still waiting for my November copy! So if there would be an option to have both - printed and online copy - that would get my vote.

 

Joachim

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Paper copy gets my vote too, and once read it goes into my collection, which goes back to the 1st Courier.

 

I've also got the DVD archive, but I don't use it.

 

When I need to refer to an old article I go to the book shelf and read the relevant magazine - post-it notes and book marks don't stick to a PDF very well !!! 

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Me too, I prefer to read from paper than from a display and I like to put a copy on the shelf in my collection. Although  I definitely would benefit from an online copy as currently I'm still waiting for my November copy! So if there would be an option to have both - printed and online copy - that would get my vote.

 

Joachim

 

I'm someone who more or less lives in online forums and would be lost without them. I actually find it a tad frustrating that I joined the club just after an apparent overhaul of the online forum so archive information is a little thin on the ground....  that's not a complaint!!! Things need to change occasionally :)

 

I too would welcome an online version of the magazine, but would also argue tooth and nail to keep the printed version.

 

Would it be a problem to make a pdf available a couple of weeks after the printed one had gone out? The pdf could be made available say via the forum, but only to members of the club? Or at least only to people registered on the forum?

A technical forum I'm a meber of has a two-stage forum registration. The part that anyone can register on and a section that only appears to people who pay a small subscription. (It's not a club hence a £1 month sub).

Is it possible to do a similar thing here, three sections?

1 Anonymously viewable section

2 Forum only registered section

3 Club member section validated against membership number

 

I appreciate it may not be do-able. Just a thought!

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Colin

 

Sorry, but I disagree.  The taxation is a VAT problem and quite complicated to get right, you simply HAVE to receive your printed Courier.  Furthermore, if everything was on the website why should anyone join?  Everything you need will be on line and easily accessed free!

 

I am not anti website, or electronic information, quite the reverse; I just want to see the Club survive and be healthy ... and debate (like this) keeps it healthy.

 

Regards

Mike

 

 

I didn't say put the Courier online for free, you put it in a members only area. It is very easy to implement a secure area, well I would hope so as the club handles credit card details online.

 

Is there anything to say you have to have your Courier posted to you? I was proposing that they were delivered to a central distribution point for collection in person at a later date. There is a magazine, with your name on it, so there is no doubting that you have paid for a magazine. A full audit trail for any interested party to follow. To insist that the magazine is delivered to the member in person precludes people who use a PO Box, or who are overseas and have it delivered to a relative etc.

It would save the club the cost of posting it out, and members could then donate their unwanted magazines for resale after a few months. So double bubble for the club. If all else fails you pulp them and sell the paper. It is still a few quid in the pot.

You could print "ecconomy" versions for the "collect in person" to save even more money.

 

Cheers

 

Colin

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I would probably not continue to be a member if the paper version was replaced by a PDF-file. I like my collection of Couriers, and would miss receiving it. But it sounds like a good idea to have a PDF version available on the homepage for members, some time after the paper version has been released. The homepages and forums are becoming more and more important for the survival of our club(s) and to add a PDf version of the courier would be great.

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Guys

 

I have had a brief email conversation with Ben Broadbent, our General Secretary, and drawn his attention to this thread.  CoM have been discussing it and it is on the agenda for the next meeting.  Ben has also reminded me that Register Secretaries already have access to post their articles on the main website, so most of the Courier could be on there now, if they posted their articles.

 

Still, democracy in action.  It'll be interesting to see what is decided; it's not an easy, or straight forward descision as we have debated.

 

Regards

Mike

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As well as being a TSSC member I also run the web forum for another car owners' club and we have been having a similar discussion, but the fact is that the majority of members do not use the forum so we have to keep the magazine going for the foreseeable future.

 

I think the same applies here. If you compare the number of members using this forum to the total TSSC membership it must be a minority at the moment, although obviously this will increase in time.

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I for one would be certainly in favour of an online version. I live in the Netherlands and receive my courier on or around the 17th of each month. I have spoken about this many times to the powers that be inclusive sending emails however I still receive the courier later each month. I therefore receive relevant information way too late. This is the main reason that I will not be renewing my membership when it comes around.

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As well as being a TSSC member I also run the web forum for another car owners' club and we have been having a similar discussion, but the fact is that the majority of members do not use the forum so we have to keep the magazine going for the foreseeable future.

 

I think the same applies here. If you compare the number of members using this forum to the total TSSC membership it must be a minority at the moment, although obviously this will increase in time.

 

Which begs the question "How do we get more members using the forum?"

 

How many don't know about or understand the value of the forum and/or how many simply wouldn't benefit from it?

 

It's the same story on the RREC forum too. The forums are a fantastic way to both find information and interact with fellow enthusiasts who may otherwise never meet, let alone speak. Not everyone, me included, can make local meets (noggin & natter or whatever you choose to call them  :) ) or even get to many shows.

The forum is a great way of being part of the community without having to be there in person.

There must be a fair number of the membership who just receive the magazine and barely, if ever, interact with the club.

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I have said this before on the old forum, but my personal view remains that the Courier is a tangible benefit of membership, and I prefer mine in printed form. I know it is expensive to produce, but for me it says to the world we are a serious, professional club, with  a long history and it is a quality product (take a bow Bern..) and a good shop window for our club. I am not an IT luddite ( the mere fact of posting here proves otherwise) but I spend most of my professional life in front of a VDU and I just don't want to do it off duty. The tax issues are already well covered here by Mike as well.

 

Regards

 

Steve

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One of the other Major Triumph Clubs, Club Triumph, publish the club magazine on line in pdf format as well as sending out posted copies. The on line magazines are accesible to members only. This is particularly useful if the magazine gets delayed in the post and especially for overseas members as it means everyone can access the magazine on the publish date. For some club events that have limited entry numbers and tend to get booked up within a couple of days of being announced (like the Round Britain Run and Ten Countries run) it does at least allow people to get access and download a copy of the magazine with entry forms. There is no option to opt out of the printed magazine, the on libne copy is to supplement the hard copy.

 

So I'd certainly think it would be worth having an online version to suplement to hard copy. I'm sure a soft copy is produced to send to the printers so it wouldn't be difficult tio publish on line....

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