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Dear Mr. Miller, is this the best you could do?

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Dear Mr. Miller, is this the best you could do?
Posted by fifedog on Friday, November 5, 2021 8:12 PM

There it is. Page 4. 6 issues a year.

Sigh

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Posted by kblester on Friday, November 5, 2021 8:26 PM

 

That may well be the last train to leave the station.Angel

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, November 5, 2021 8:41 PM

If they're short of material and advertisers then going to a bi-monthly is the only thing to do, either that or folding "CTT" into "Model Railroading" and canceling the title completely.

I'm really not surprised.  

I pulled out the December 2013 issue of "CTT" I saved and the difference in advertiser content between then and now is shocking.

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Posted by emdmike on Saturday, November 6, 2021 12:14 AM

For better or worse, most of the "younger" generation of modelers in any scale get their information online on their devices be it a tablet or smart phone.  A couple magazines I used to get have gone or are going to digital format only in the near future.  This is very sad to me, but a sign of the times.  Between higher costs associated with a printed magazine, combined with rapid fall off in subscriptions is leading the way.  Most of it for these other modeling magazines was the higher costs of printing and mailing of issues as they were for more of a niche of the model train hobby.  Yes the newest issue of CTT was very "light" compared to older issues from this time of year as we approach the holidays and the typical "hot" season for toy trains in general.     

Silly NT's, I have Asperger's Syndrome

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Posted by anjdevil2 on Saturday, November 6, 2021 7:44 AM

I haven't gotten my latest issue --- so I'll be on the look out for that. 

It doesn't help that Lionel "snubs" CTT with new product info and demos.  Has been like that for years.  With Atlas taking a lot of MTH's product line, not sure if Atlas has any interest in CTT, but I wish they would.

Personally, I don't like digital, it doesn't "fit" my lifestyle.  To me, it would appear that Kalmbach is more interested in Model Railroader than CTT and that sucks.

I am the monster in your head...And I thought you'd learn by now, It seems you haven't yet.
I am the venom in your skin  --- Breaking Benjamin


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Posted by emdmike on Saturday, November 6, 2021 9:55 AM

Same thing happened to Garden Railways, it got super thin and then was just folded into a montly blurb in Model Railroader.  Seems the other magazine that deals with 3 rail O scale does well on content and has maintained a decent thickness and content with a mix of hi rail and toy trains.  To me, having subscribed to various Kalmbach magazines since I was in my teens(I am almost 50 now), all of their publications have lost their way in various ways.  The older issues from the 60's up thru the 90's were way better with content.  Granted this was before the net and forums/facebook groups ect.   Back then you had more "how to" articles on building models, benchwork ect.   I get more from older issues of various toy train magazines then the new issues.  Even the very old issues of Model Builder, put out by Lionel in the prewar and early postwar years have better content for getting the new modeler up to speed with the seasoned guys, along with content for those seasoned modelers.  Maybe its time for the various editors of Kalmbachs model train magazines to take a serious look back on older issues and what they offered both the entry level hobbiest and the seasoned one.   With the uber high prices of todays trains, maybe more of the "how to" articles on building scenery, buildings from common, affordable hobby supplies need to be revisited.  They would add content and give entry level toy train hobbiests an alternative to expensive RTR buildings, along with a great craft building time with their son/daughter for those modeling with their children.   

Silly NT's, I have Asperger's Syndrome

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Posted by Swiss-Colorado-Lines on Saturday, November 6, 2021 12:32 PM

Consider that the magazine business is tough these days....So much available for free on the internet. Kalmbach is trying hard to survive and stay profitable. Case in point: the unlimited access.

Hard to make a buck in the magazine biz these days...

But I do think they pulled the plug on Garden Railways too soon....

Paul

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, November 6, 2021 3:51 PM

emdmike
Seems the other magazine that deals with 3 rail O scale does well on content and has maintained a decent thickness and content with a mix of hi rail and toy trains. 

Yes they do, and a lot of the ads that used to appear in "CTT" seem to have migrated over to the "The Other" as well. 

There's two "Others" that I won't mention that appear to be more than holding their own.  

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Posted by pennytrains on Saturday, November 6, 2021 5:53 PM

"The other" tends to let the contributing layout owners write everything which, in my humble opinion, isn't as good as having staff writers with a recognizable style.

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

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Posted by Warbotrain on Saturday, November 6, 2021 9:15 PM
I have been waiting for this shoe to drop. Advertising is drying up. I am a charter subscriber to CTT and sorry to see this happen, but it was inevitable. I hope they can maintain the six-issues-per-year schedule. If even that is too much, I sure hope they at least continue to publish on-line. Love CTT.
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Posted by emdmike on Sunday, November 7, 2021 2:21 AM

Depends, sometimes the layout owners/writers cover things in detail that staff that have zero clue about toy trains might miss.  Now having it proof read and gramatical errors fixed should be done.  But then, maybe the way that "other" magazine is doing things works better.  Obviously their issues have some "substance" than current issues of CTT.   I can remember when the couple issues in the run up to the holiday season were the thickest of the year, with the late spring issue being the thinest, which is normal in the cycle of toy train use.  But the last few years, even the holiday issue has been lacking.  I think we all realize the magazine market is very shaky right now.  But to me, Kalmbach's current managment have lost their way.  

Silly NT's, I have Asperger's Syndrome

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Posted by palallin on Monday, November 8, 2021 9:07 AM

CTT is one of two mags that I continue to suscribe to.  If/When it goes digital, I will bow out--I have neither the desire nor the time for an eletronic periodical (which would tie me to my desk and my computer). 

I have had some instruction on the econimics of the magazine business these days.  I recognize and understand the dollar realities.  Still, I loathe the trends toward paying extra for online content (not much of a CTT problem) and printing special, extra-cost additions (definitely common for Kalmbach).

I have been with CTT since the 3rd issue (and I went back and got the first 2 very early), so I have a complete set, and I will continue to add to it as long as it comes on paper. 

I can remembder the 4 issues/year days, and I remember the joy when the schedule went to bimonthly.  I will not lament returning to that pattern overmuch so long as it prolongs the days of a printed mag.

 

 

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Posted by Warbotrain on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 10:52 PM
CTT’s artwork - layout and production values - are far superior to the Other magazine. CTT is always a joy to read in one way because of its attractiveness. First rate artistic taste used every time. Now, I subscribe to both mags and enjoy reading them, so don’t me wrong. But CTT’s presentation is truly excellent in each and every issue. And the editorial staff -and the unmatched knowledge of all things toy train exhibited by Roger Carp - make reading CTT a real pleasure.
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Posted by emdmike on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 8:22 AM

I really hope the return to that format allows for more substance.  Lets see more of folks home layouts, not the super high doller empires that only those with great depth of wallet can afford.  While those are great to see, its the smaller, every boy's/mans layout.   Lets have more kids involvement with a kids corner, layouts built by the under 18 folk be them on the floor or a table.  Kalmbach has the clout to reinvigorate the magazine if they choose to.  Light a darn fire under your editors behind or send him packing and get someone in there that is on fire for toy trains.  If they are truely serious about making $$ and selling magazines, they are doing a piss poor job of it right now.  The "other" O gauge/toy trains magazine is doing a whole lot better in many different ways.  I have many of the older issues of magazines from Kalmbach and Garden Railways prior to their ownership.  I was unhappy when GR when away and will be very disappointed if they let CTT fall completely on its face.  

Silly NT's, I have Asperger's Syndrome

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Posted by Hal Miller on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 3:15 PM

Hi folks:

First, I'd like to thank all of you for reading Classic Toy Trains. I assure you, the editors, as well as the rest of the dedicated team that produces the print and digital products, are working as hard as they can to bring you first-rate entertaining and informative content.

There's no shortage of it, either. We have a lot of great things coming in the 2022 issues, as well as on Trains.com.

The decision to change the frequency was made at the executive level; the CTT staff was not involved in the process. That said, leadership at Kalmbach Media believes in a strong future for the brand and is committed to serving our customers who desire a print product.

For the record, the staff is very excited about the hobby. There are a lot of great things happening with products as well as the people in it.

It's an evolving world, and we are changing with it. We hope you'll all continue to be part of the CTT family.

Hal Miller, Editor-Classic Toy Trains

 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 5:02 PM

Thank you for having your ear to the gound and listening Mr. Miller!  Bow

I'm sure you've gathered your readers love "CTT" too much to see it die.  If they complain, it's because they CARE.  

If the day ever comes when you hear nothing, start worrying.

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Posted by smokey1 on Thursday, November 11, 2021 5:29 AM

My thought on this, is a lot of us remember when it was 8 issues a year. and it doesn't seem that long ago we went from 8 to 7 copies a year, and now 7 to 6. And now you can not even buy just the magazine from you all, it's print and digital or just digital. It seems we're paying more for less ( just 6 issues so it makes it more per issue. ) 

Yes, I understand inflation, but if someone is getting the digital version, it should be cheaper than the print version as it doesn't need to go to the printer and then be distributed to all the places that sell it or send it out to all the subscribers. 

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Posted by fifedog on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 9:53 PM

Thank you for responding, Mr. Miller. In a way, you confirmed what I had already surmised.

I invite folks to go back and read the statements given by Mr. Hickey, upon his appointment at Kalmbach. Given his background, and his penchant for digital media, it would be difficult to place a wager on print, moving forward.

I am just one consumer. I want what I once had. This latest decision doesn't make me feel "front and center".

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Posted by palallin on Thursday, November 18, 2021 8:38 AM

I just renewed my subscritpion yesterday.  I confess I was dismayed to see that the only two options were Digital or Digital + Print.  I went with the dual because I demand a printed magazine.  The digital is essentially useless to me because it ties me to my desk computer, and I can't relax reading at my desk.

I have been with CTT since Issue 3.  (I have since gotten 1 & 2).  But when the printed mag is discontinued, so will my subscription be.

Mr. Miller--and all the folks at Kalmbach--please know that I wish you well.  You probably don't care--or, to be fair, cannot care--that you are leaving me behind.  But I want you to know that some of us still want printed magazines.

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Posted by Art Young on Thursday, November 18, 2021 10:03 AM

I'm a charter subscriber. Not everyone wants or likes digital magazines. How about offering a "print only" option - and sticking with it until we actualy ask for the digital version? It would definitely spare us the bombardment of emails pushing digital that I have to constantly delete. I'll still subscribe even when it goes down to 4 times a year, but no further than that. 

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Posted by emdmike on Thursday, November 18, 2021 1:46 PM

I appreciate Mr Miller responding, but in typical mgmt fashion.  I hear that polished "stuff" at work all day long from management.  It will be the action of the parent Kalmbach that will speak to whether they really give 2 craps about the substance of the magazine or not.  Unfortunatlly the ones pulling the strings are far above Mr Miller's position in the company.  All I can say is they need to take a hard look at past issues thru the early years and the substance they had that is now sorely lacking.  If that means 4 issues a year to achieve that, then so be it.  I will look forward to that.  But if I see 4 issues that are thin as the most recent one, then its a hard pass.  Even the local bookstore no longer carries CTT on their shelves, or at least its never there when I stop in. And they are a nationwide chain/tied to Barnes & Noble.  Classic toy trains is and should be a fond tie to the past combined with the new.  Seeing much less of the past and just new stuff and ad's pushing the new stuff.  The holiday issue should be the thickest of the year like it once was.  With layout holiday layout pics, store window layouts of the past, kids layouts.  I should make both kids and adults want toy trains for Christmas.  I find myself rereading my old issues of all the magazines that are under the Kalmbach ownership as the new ones leave me unsatisified and feel like $$ wasted on the issue I purchased.  For your demographics, I am 48, so I did not grow up in the 50's, I grew up in the MPC/LTI era of Lionel and have had Lionel since I was a young boy.  I backdated my trains to Postwar/Prewar as those MPC years were a bit lacking, and the LTI stuff was beyond my means in those years.   Best wishes to all the staff at CTT in the coming new year!     Mike

Silly NT's, I have Asperger's Syndrome

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