Saturday, March 7, 2009

Editor & Publisher Market Guide

This yearly publication contains a lot of useful information, yet the last three editions, which were still on the shelf when the 2009 edition came in, look untouched. It costs about $170 per year, which, granted, is not a whole lot compared to some of the titles we have reviewed. But think of it as eight $20 bills and a $10--are we throwing this amount away every year?
The strength of this volume is the large section of market data for US cities that have daily newspapers. This includes, in addition to population and number of households, principal industries, number of banks and amount of deposits, railroads, shopping centers and retail outlets, colleges and universities, names of newspapers and other data. Although much of this information is available on the internet, the convenience here is the collection of these various pieces of information for each city. The sections on Population, Ages and Ethnicity, Housing, Income and Retail sales are more easily found online.
It also includes Metropolital Statistical Area (MSA) rankings for such things as population, income, cost of living, high school graduation rates. quality of life, retail sales.
Is this useful enough, and do we get enough requests for this type of information, to justify the price?


Jane said...

GS says: I never use this source and I had actually forgotten the wide variety of information that is listed in it. I thought we might consider keeping it to use for folks who might be relocating. And it looks like great stuff, until you actually try to look up a specific place such as my hometown of Blacksburg, VA. That entire section of the state has no daily paper so does not appear anywhere in that book. Princeton would not appear either. With so many newspapers folding, soon there won’t be as many regions profiled. I think enough similar information can be found elsewhere that we should drop this title.

P/T Librarian said...

This is a tough one. Gayle makes a strong case for dropping it. Its main drawback, as she points out, is that it gives very little information about places that don’t have a daily newspaper—including Princeton. On the other hand, it does have some value as an all-in-one handy reference for business people checking out areas to market their products and for people who are relocating.

I decided to see what I could find out about Brawley, CA, where I spent five long years of my childhood -- a place I wouldn’t recommend to my worst enemy. While Brawley doesn’t have an entry in EPMG, the neighboring city, El Centro, does, and El Centro’s entry gives a reasonably good idea of what Brawley is like: it’s in the middle of nowhere-- closest major cities are San Diego (115 miles away) and Yuma (60 miles away); while the Chamber of Commerce’s motto for El Centro is “ Where the Sun Spends the Winter”, unfortunately, the sun spends the summer there too (maximum temp 115); not much goes on there that isn’t related to agriculture, thanks to irrigation, one of the area’s major industries; it boasts three department stores: Penneys, Sears and Mervyn’s. If you want Macy’s, try San Diego, which has eight —Yuma doesn’t have one. I’d say EPMG gives a fairly good word picture of this region. It also does a good job with a much more desirable place (to my mind): Ann Arbor, MI.

The tables tell me that El Centro’s population increased 19.7% from 2000 to 2009 and is forecast to continue growing, that over 53,000 residents are under 18 and only 17,800 are over 65, and that 88% are Hispanic. They also indicate that 60% of adults have graduated from high school and about 12% from college. The retail statistics give a better picture of the local economy. The indices are too poorly defined to be of much use, although they seem to show that El Centro doesn’t come out well in terms of number of crimes, cost living, or its “better living index”.

As with most of our sources, a lot of the information here can be found on the web—certainly the statistics. So it’s a matter of whether the handy, all-in-one access is worth the money. I’m leaning toward recommending that we keep it, at least for another year, but I’ll be fine with whatever the majority decides.

Cynthia said...

I never have used this or even looked at it until this Gong Show. It is interesting to me--I am a data person. However, I don't see a real use for it for the department. I doubt most of us would go to it first when trying to find out about an area. As newspapers die, the coverage will suffer. For that reason, I say loose it if the Reference and Adult Services department gets the return.

JiHae said...

I like the fact that each survey entry offers a variety of info in a condensed format. A lot of the online sites either offer too little or too much information (call this the 'Goldilocks' critique). I also like that it covers our neighbors up north.

As for the death knell of the newspaper industry, I hear it too, but let's wait closer to the final gong til we let this one go.

Jane said...


Jane said...

Looks like more want it than don't, so we'll keep for another year.