Kiplinger: We’re in same boat as others, but will remain independent
TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
Austin Kiplinger, the patriarch of the Washington-based company that publishes the Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, said Thursday that he believes the company will remain independent, but it’s struggling just like others to adapt to the changing publishing world.
“I think we’re in the same boat with the whole information world,” said Kiplinger, who turned 90 in September. “It’s not a sea change, it’s a tsunami. We are struggling to keep our heads above water in the financial sense. We’ve been in the red of the publishing area of our company for the past five years and lived on reserves. Thank God we’ve been frugal.”
“The publishing world is not just in turmoil, it’s in a long-term permanent change,” added Kiplinger. “We have our dot com and our business resource center. They’re growing by leaps and bounds, but it’s a long haul, and we have a lot of publishing costs that they can’t cover overnight. So it’s a race. I don’t know who’s going to survive in this picture. We’re doing everything that we’ve ever done as best as we have ever done. But we have to make a transition to new distribution.”
When asked what that new distribution would be, Kiplinger replied, “I don’t have the answer. I do think it has to be electronic in some form or another, whether it’s from a Blackberry or the Web, or the bug in your ear.”
When asked if the Kiplinger family would ever sell the business, he answered, “I would hope not. It’s not necessarily because of the family, but it’s because of the independence. I would hope it would continue as an independent entity, somebody who takes personal responsibility for its integrity. In larger and large companies, that doesn’t always survive. I just hope we can keep that quality in whatever form. I know (Kiplinger’s Personal Finance editor in chief) Knight (Kiplinger) agrees with this. We’ve had a lot of discussions about this recently.”
The full interview with Kiplinger can be read here.