Every time I enter the office of a publicly funded economic development agency, regeneration fund or marketing quango there is a fan of glossy magazines published by the organisation on the reception desk. What is it with this vanity publishing? Typically the chief exec will feature on page 3 in their best suit perched on the edge of the desk, opposite a contents list of news stories that are out of date because it took months to produce the final proof.
But the copies I see are never well-thumbed. I don't hear business folk mention the great articles they read inside. Could it be they are only for an audience of one? Has a business ever based a decision to invest on the content of one of these titles?
I'm amazed that so much of this self-publishing has endured throughout the financial crisis and austerity cuts. How much money have tax payers spent on glossy paper without any return in the past few years while waiting for vital physical infrastructure in the real world outside? Would anyone miss this strand of marketing if it disappeared? Chief executives, sacrifice yours egos and spend the time and money on things that make a real difference.
Yes of course I have a vested interest in diverting money from vanity publishing to traditional media. I also have the audience that these magazines desire but don't attract. Support traditional media and reach readers and real businesses that make decisions.