Byways Archive

How the iPad Saved The Magazine Byways

You know the story. A struggling publication creates its own App, submits it to Apple’s iTunes Store, gets accepted, receives some free publicity, consumers read it, like it, and subscribe. And the publication is saved!

That’s a great story. But it’s not our story.

No, this is the story of a 30 year old travel industry publication that has gone through multiple juggling acts in its time to survive, but came to what everyone agreed was the end with the most recent recession. As its advertisers abandoned ship in a struggling economy, it could no longer pay the printing bill, or the mailing and distribution costs necessary to continue.

“Byways magazine has gone through several transformations in its lifetime,” says editor and publisher Stephen M. Byways ScreenshotKirchner. “We always managed to pull the rabbit out of the hat at the last minute to keep going, but this recession should have been the end.”

The demise of Byways would have been a shame. While other publications focused on the travel destinations of the rich and famous, Byways had built a niche covering the destinations in North America located along the highways and byways of the United States and Canada. Places like Branson and Pigeon Forge, and great American roads like Rt. 66 and the Lincoln Highway, where people drove on vacations, traveled in RVs, rode on motorcycles, or took motorcoach tours.

As the bills mounted, and the advertising disappeared, Kirchner, like so many others in publishing, was desperate.

“We were ready to grasp at any straws,” he says, “and the most logical were the many solicitations we had received for turn-key on-line publishing.” Kirchner decided to give it one last shot, and choose a vendor to put up one turn-key issue and hope for the best.