Why Moleskine Is The Model For Newspaper Survival

moleskine-notebook“Get big, get niche or get out” is a hoary old business mantra. For a news media in an increasingly fragmented landscape the middle option seems the obvious one.

Niche publications will be able to survive offline and charge on it. Or so conventional wisdom has it.

When we talk of niche we tend to talk in terms of subjects (business, pharmaceuticals, model railways etc) and not objects.

But what if the desired niche was physical? What if there’s an audience out there who crave the aesthetic of the printed newspaper as much as Moleskine owners crave their little black and bound notebooks?

The Moleskine is a useful analogy for two reasons. Firstly, it is very tribal – the owner, likely urban, liberal and creative*, is saying something about themselves. If you feel alienated as a non-owner, a non-member, well you’re supposed to.

Second, the Moleskine should have been made redundant by the PDA and the smartphone – its portability and functionality both superceded by a digital alternative.

It didn’t because people crave the physicality. There are now 10 million Moleskine notebooks in production each year.

Newspapers, too, are both tribal and threatened by a digital alternative. Could a few carve out a niche as highly desirable, daily objects of desire?

(*No surprise then that many in the tribe were horrified when Fox News anchor Glenn Beck, poster-boy of the American right, was spotted with one.)

Related:
- The Future Of Newspapers, It’s In The Bag

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7 comments on “Why Moleskine Is The Model For Newspaper Survival
  1. Moleskiners says:

    [...] Read the rest of the article at Jon Bernstein’s weblog. [...]

  2. [...] – Why Moleskine Is The Model For Newspaper Survival – Scarcity, Abundance And The Misapprehension Of Online Advertising – Poll Shocker: Newspaper [...]

  3. Curt says:

    Hmm! I’m not liberal. I’m creative. I really like my Moleskines. Are you stereotyping?

  4. jonbernstein says:

    Guilty as charged, Curt. Sorry!

  5. [...] – iPhone Apps Emerge As Possible Paid Solution – Why Moleskine Is The Model For Newspaper Survival – Scarcity, Abundance And The Misapprehension Of Online Advertising Possibly related posts: [...]

  6. [...] Why Moleskine Is The Model For Newspaper Survival What if there’s an audience out there who crave the aesthetic of the printed newspaper as much as Moleskine owners crave their little black and bound notebooks? [jonbernstein.wordpress.com] (tags: Business_Model Newspapers Moleskine) [...]

  7. [...] – Lehman Collapse Showed The Power Of Print – Why Moleskine Is The Model For Newspaper Survival – News [...]

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Jon Bernstein: I am a digital media consultant, writer and editor and this is my personal blog.

Previously, I was digital director / deputy editor at the New Statesman, the multimedia editor at Channel 4 News, launch editor of Channel 4 FactCheck, editor-in-chief at Directgov and editor-in-chief of silicon.com.

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