Carstens Publications current status

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Sat Aug 23 09:44:41 EDT 2014

This should take the speculation out of some of the missing details which
we have seen around thus far.

On Sat, Aug 23, 2014 at 9:38 AM, Cohen Bob <orl96782 at> wrote:

> All this is nowhere near "new" but the source seems the best seen thus
> far. I know that RPN has had some of it and I pass it along in the FWIW
> category. This particular cross-post came from the B&O yahoo group.
> Bob Cohen
> A slight bit of additional information. Pretty much everything you've read
> about the printer change etc., is all true, but it doesn't draw the
> complete picture. Allow me to fill in the blanks a little bit.
> Any business owner will tell you, it is all about cash flow. You may have
> all the sales you can handle, but if you don't get the money in the door in
> a timely and steady manner, you are going to have issues. And that has been
> the case at Carstens for some time. We have been on a "pay to play" deal
> with our printer for years…We'd send the mag and the money to print it…then
> we'd send the money for postage and they'd mail it. And these were not
> insignificant dollar amounts.
> From 2008 on, as the recession kept going, people kept losing their jobs
> or taking work that paid less, our sales diminished also. We had increases
> in the book line, primarily due to the On30 and then the HOn3 Annuals, and
> our ad revenue stayed pretty steady. But over time, the cash coming in, and
> the frequency of it inched downward. Our costs (payroll, taxes, printing
> costs, mailing costs etc.) kept going up, and in the case of mailing,
> significantly so.
> When Super Storm Sandy hit, we were out of power for 10 days (no phones,
> no computers) and we counted ourselves lucky compared to some on the east
> coast. But there was basically a half month that we could not generate any
> revenue, and of course many folks on the east coast couldn't buy from us if
> they wanted to because they didn't have power or were dealing with flooding
> issues. Then we had the polar vortex and the winter that would not end, and
> had many of the same issues. Those hurt our cash to the point where we were
> missing print windows because we didn't have enough cash to print, and we
> had to delay. That delay hurt subscriber confidence and you can see the
> death spiral picking up steam. There were any number of things that you
> could point to, but Quad Graphics (our printer in St. Cloud for the last
> 15-16 years) making the decision to shut the St. Cloud plant down and move
> us (and they let all the people we'd worked with go) and put us with a new
>  plant and new people, that was basically the end. We had very little
> money coming in, and with the delay, small prospects of any coming in. We
> scrapped enough up to do the June and get it out, but the July will never
> see the light of day as a Carstens product.
> Now two companies are bidding to buy RMC & Railfan, and so they will
> continue in the future in some form. What that looks like I don't know. The
> Annuals future is somewhat more vague. It is my hope and certainly my
> intent to continue to serve as the editor and bring those out, but that
> decision is mostly out of my hands at this point. My last official day with
> Carstens is Friday.
> I don't want anyone to feel bad for me, I will be just fine and it was my
> pleasure to serve the model railroad community and especially the narrow
> gauge community as a member of Carstens. God willing, I will be able to
> continue to do so in some other form, but I likely won't know what that
> might look like for at least another week or so, and likely longer.
>  All the best,
>  Chris Lane- Editor On30 Annual
>  clane at
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