It was good while it lasted. For five months, I was a regular columnist for UNCORKED magazine, writing their “Vino Italiano” column. A great gig (though it left scant time for this blog). Then last week, the digital magazine abruptly folded. Ah, well. It’s one more proof that digital publishing still hasn’t figured out a viable economic model. NOMAD EDITIONS—founded by Mark Edmiston, a past president of Newsweek and no slouch when it comes to publishing—was asking $1.99 per month (4 issues) or $19.99 for an annual subscription (48 issues). (A free sample issue was available if you coughed up your email address.) They figured customers wouldn’t balk at $1.99 if they’re already conditioned to pay $.99 for a single iTunes music download. They were wrong, as we can now see with 20/20 hindsight. They needed 20,000 subscribers to make it work. They got just 4,000. A late alliance with Snooth did not save the day.
For me, it’s a disappointment. Uncorked editor Steve Yafa encouraged me to contribute the kind of writing I like to do—something with a voice, a personal perspective, a narrative thread. I’ll start looking for another forum, but believe me, it’s not easy to find that kind of unfettered freedom and allowance for personal voice in magazine publishing.
So, here are the fruits of my labor — text and photos by yours truly. Without the iPad app, the layout doesn’t look as beautiful. But no matter; the content’s still great, in my humble opinion.