Disappointment Management

One of the things we’ve always been careful to say about Newspaper Club is ‘it won’t be as good as you’re imagining’. It’s easy to think of all sorts of great things you can do with newspapers, it’s a lot harder to actually do them, so lots of them, we won’t be doing.

Here are a couple of the specific disappointments we’re going to offer for the beta launch in a few weeks.

Flickr Photo Download: Exclusive Launch Product Line Up

When we start the only product you’ll be able to get will be a twelve-page newspaper. We’ve been assuming all the way through the process, up to Friday, that it would be 16 pages, but now we’ve decided to knock four off.

Firstly, it keeps costs down – adding extra pages is what makes printing expensive. But secondly, and most importantly, 16 pages requires a lot of content, a lot. And we think it’s going to be hard for people to do that much.

This is something we’re thinking about a lot. Making a newspaper is hard, it takes work, effort. It won’t be a quick burst of fun, creative decisions like making your Moo cards. It’ll mean assembling lots of content, deciding where to put it, lining it all up, working out where to get it delivered, lots of stuff. It won’t be something people’ll do just casually. You’re going to have to want to make a newspaper. We don’t think is a bad thing, we think lots of people will want to make one, and we’re going to make it as easy as we can. But one way to do that is to give people less blank pages to fill up. So – for launch – 12 pages.

Flickr Photo Download: Exclusive Launch Product Line Up

The second big disappointment we’re announcing is that, for launch, we’ll only be able to print in the UK. This is simple logisitics. We only want to work with printers we’ve actually met, who we have good relationships with and we want to make sure that shipping etc works well and costs a reasonable amount. We don’t have time to be visiting and negotiating with printers elsewhere. Not yet anyway.

Hopefully, once we’re up and running, we’ll be able to add other printers and other countries pretty quickly. But, at the beginning, it’ll just be UK. Sorry.

So, keep lowering those expectations, and soon we’ll explain why all the design decisions we’ve made suck too.

Posted by Russell | Comments (9)

Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. Mon, 28 Sep 2009 at 9:42 am
    Magnulus Permalink

    I haven’t been paying attention to the site lately, only came over here to see a massive amount of deliciousness. I have to say that all the restrictions that apply are quite fine by me. 12 pages is, as you say, quite ample for most uses.

    I’m really looking forward to trying this stuff out, both for personal and other use. Very excited!

  2. Mon, 28 Sep 2009 at 11:02 am
    Simon Willison Permalink

    Have you considered accepting orders from overseas but charging a big chunk of money for delivery? I’ve been on the other end of this (living in the UK and unable to order stuff from the States) and generally I’d rather they told me it was possible but I’d have to cough up a lot for postage than point blank refuse my business.

  3. Mon, 28 Sep 2009 at 11:26 am
    Mike Permalink

    Have you had any more thoughts on copyright issues? I agree that 12 pages would be fine, but I’d love to do what you mentioned in your blog a while back and fill a newspaper before going away on a trip with all the articles I’ve saved in Instapaper etc and not had time to read. The number of pages I could fill doing that is, at least in theory, unlimited…

    Keep up the good work.

  4. Mon, 28 Sep 2009 at 3:12 pm
    Magnulus Permalink

    One question… I’m sure I’ve either missed a mention of this from earlier or I’ve missed you saying that you won’t answer this ’till later, but what are the price projections looking like at the moment for the various sizes of delivery?

  5. Mon, 28 Sep 2009 at 3:25 pm
    Russell Permalink

    Good questions/points all. Thanks very much.

    Magnulus – we’ve not quite worked everything out yet with prices. Should be able to post a rough idea soon though.

    Mike – we’re still thinking about all that. It’s thorny. Hope to resolve that soon too.

    Simon – you’re right. We should do that. I’ll amend accordingly.

  6. Wed, 30 Sep 2009 at 1:22 am
    Alex Foster Permalink

    Will there be options for fewer than 12 pages? Sometimes a single sheet folded can be very helpful (it’s what all the political parties put out as leaflets, for example)

  7. Fri, 2 Oct 2009 at 10:37 am
    graham Permalink

    I’ve been thinking a bit more about this and Kigali, Russell. It looks like I’ll be back in the UK every 3 months or so and I reckon the trainee journalists I have here may just be able to create enough content to fill a 12 page newspaper every few months. I order and pick them up in the UK – and bring an empty suitcase…

    Just wondering if your printers would be able to handle Kinyarwanda as well as English? Don’t see why not. It doesn’t have any ‘funny’ characters.

    Anyway, all in the thought/dream stage, but I’d love to see this come off.


  8. Fri, 2 Oct 2009 at 8:16 pm
    Russell Permalink

    Graham – I’m sure we can make that work. I’d really like to. And we can handle any characters you can put on a pdf so it should be OK.

    Alex – Well, depends exactly what you’re after, but if we print the same thing 12 times won’t have the same effect? Drop us a line (newspaperclub@newspaperclub.co.uk) with any more thoughts and we’ll have a think about it.

  9. Mon, 19 Oct 2009 at 8:41 pm
    Delivery boy « Matthew Sheret Online Permalink

    [...] the blog has been a study in expectation management, it’s clear already that any guide has to play an important role in continuing that. [...]

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