Saturday, December 02, 2006

What about paper vs. online newsletters

On a certain surname mailing list at, there is a gentleman who wishes to begin publishing a new "such and such" family history newsletter in paper format charging folks $30-40 per year for 10 issues.

Ol' Myrt's suggestion is that the newsletter will reach more people if it is not limited to paper copies mailed to subscribers. Placing such a newsletter on the internet widens the audience who may even stumble across it through a Google search, 24/7 even years after the publication date. Paper copies succumb to the ravages of time. I suggested that if the file is created in Word or MS Publisher, etc., it can be converted to .pdf format, so the pages will print out the same for everyone, regardless of printer. Also there will be no attendant snail mail fees.

When the creator of the proposed newsletter replied to my suggestion, it was to say that:

-- He is worried folks would just forward the digital version of the newsletter to others without paying the subscription fee.

-- He is worried about people who do not have computers.

-- He didn't intend to live off the proceeds of his newsletter.

-- He wanted the newsletter to include copies of source documents.

WAY TO GO!! Providing copies of source documents proving family relationships is very valuable to his readers. But I am not concerned about people paying for something and sharing it willy-nilly with non-paying friends. Most are honest enough.

AFTER SLEEPING ON THE SUBJECT, Ol' Myrt realizes that the gentleman in question perhaps:

-- confuses a web site with the typical genealogy mailing lists where graphics are not allowed.

-- uncomfortable with the process of inserting a scanned copy of a source document and placing the "picture" in Word or MSPublisher (or any such word processing or newsletter creating program.)

Perhaps this wonderful researcher is great at research, but is more familiar with the old-fashioned "paste up" process of taping a copy of an ancestor's document on a page before printing the newsletter at the local photocopy shop.

So what do you think, DearREADERS?

1. Would you personally prefer a hard copy or a digital version of a newsletter to save or print out on your own computer?

2. Do you think that more people will benefit from the newsletter in hard copy or via the internet?


Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE, your friend in genealogy

Snail Mail Address:
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Bellevue, WA 98004