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Re: Aroideana/IAS Newsletter

  • Subject: Re: Aroideana/IAS Newsletter
  • From: "Leo A. Martin" <leo@possi.org>
  • Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2007 12:55:31 -0700 (MST)

Hello All,

I like to grow many kinds of plants, including aroids. Aroids aren't the
center of my life, but perhaps I can contribute to the publication
discussion.

I am a director of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America, and on the
committee that supervises our four regular publications:

1. The Cactus and Succulent Journal of the Cactus and Succulent Society of
America goes out to our members every 2 months. (We just call it the
Journal.) It contains articles about cultivation, species novae,
localities, people and book reviews; advertising; and lots of photos. It
is printed on heavy glossy paper, almost all in color, and the paper used
is roughly 8.5 inches x 11 inches (very close to A size) folded in half
and stapled at the center.

2. Our newsletter, To the Point, (TTP, as we call it) is also published
bimonthly and goes out to our members packaged in a plastic sleeve
together with the Journal. TTP contains contact information for our
society administration, articles on cultivation, news on our local
affiliate clubs, other Society news, and a calendar of events. Our annual
ballot is included with the September-October issue. It is printed black
and white on heavy paper and is the same size as our Journal.

3. Our scientific journal Haseltonia we aim to publish annually. Like many
smaller societies we have sometimes been late publishing but we are making
it a priority to publish this annually. This journal contains purely
scientific articles: original research, reviews, species novae, and
editorials. Haseltonia is indexed as a scientific publication, which means
researchers can more easily find the articles in online searches, making
it more usable. Indexing organizations require regular publication.
Haseltonia is about the same size as our Journal but is bound with a flat
spine.

4. Our Web site cssainc.org is a work in progress. We do it in-house and
it is hosted in England by one of our Society members who has a
Web-hosting business and also runs the cactus mall (cactus-mall.com .) We
have great ambitions for our site, chiefly to make available a lot of
information about succulent plants and Society events. Those of you who
created and maintain the IAS site know how difficult is this undertaking.

We are fortunate to have plenty of authors submitting high-quality
manuscripts to all our publications. We do not pay for manuscripts. Our
Society does provide research grants with the stipulation that the
recipient publish something eventually in one of our periodicals.

We pay our Journal, To the Point, Haseltonia and Web site editors. In the
past we were fortunate to have volunteers of exceptionally high quality
but this doesn't seem possible any more. Our Journal editor also assists
with the Web site.

Our officers and directors are volunteers. Most of us are neither wealthy
nor kept (though one can still dream...), and thus we have to work for a
living. We have a paid business manager who maintains our subscriber list
and business correspondence but almost all our work is done by officers,
directors and editors.

It is very expensive to publish periodicals. There are not many publishing
houses for small societies (or large societies, for that matter.) We use
Allen Press in Kansas. It is probably not possible to publish a regular
color journal for a society with less than 1,500 members unless dues are
well over $50 per year unless there is another source of income. Our dues
are currently $45 but we have a biennial Convention that usually (but not
always) brings in extra income.

Mailing costs are astounding, and just recently large bulk mailers and
publishers in the US successfully lobbied the Postal Service to charge
them less for mailing their enormous volumes of junk mail and
high-circulation magazines, while charging mailers of smaller periodicals
up to three times more.

Paper publications in general are struggling worldwide due to the ready
availability of material on the Internet. Nobody has a good strategy yet.
Our Phoenix newspaper has just decided to stop distributing paper copies
outside the Phoenix metro area. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times,
Wall Street Journal and most local papers are losing subscribers at the
rate of 5% - 15% per year. Almost no Internet publications have been able
to charge subscribers. The Wall Street Journal is almost the sole
exception, and its new owner Rupert Murdoch is probably going to make it
available free.

>From reading the posts regarding the Aroid Society, it seems to me

1 The society does not have a large number of members
2 There are insufficient manuscripts submitted for the current Aroideana
3 Dues are quite low
4 The E-mail discussion list is very active, and a lot of well-written,
highly informative information is posted there, as well as on the Web
site.

I would say the chief obstacle for the Aroid Society to publishing more on
paper is the lack of manuscript submissions, followed by the financial
considerations that would need to be addressed if things become more
complex. It is obvious Society members exist who could produce wonderful
publications, but I suspect they are already quite busy with other
matters.

I would like to hear Victor Soukup's blackmail suggestions. They might
come in handy someday.

Leo Martin
Phoenix Arizona USA

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