By Ray O’Hanlon
The market might be a bit wobbly right , but that is not stopping the people behind The World of Hibernia magazine from planning to expand their publication’s frequency and reach.
The high-end glossy, which was launched with much fanfare in 1995, comes out four times each year with a cover price that might be a little unworldly for some: $15.
But founding publisher Kevin Kelly has always seen his American creation as being as much a book as a magazine, a publication to keep, not unlike National Geographic.
And now there will be more of them to keep.
Despite tumbling advertising revenue in the magazine market, The World of Hibernia is planning to go bimonthly in 2002.
And the magazine’s spring 2001 issue is about to be bumped from the shelves by its summer issue, an edition that keeps it all in the family in one sense given that the cover story is about the legendary Australian outlaw, Ned Kelly.
"We will be coming out on a bimonthly basis from next year and will be reducing the cover price to $7.50," TWHO publisher Mark Kelly told the Echo.
Kelly, son of founding publisher Kevin Kelly, is heading up the magazine’s U.S. operations from an office in Manhattan.
The magazine began its American life in New York City, moved across the Hudson to New Jersey for a while, and is now back in the Big Apple.
But though Kelly is based in New York, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Sonya Perkins, is presently working out of the magazine’s office in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.
"We’re feeling incredibly bullish. We have been getting commitments from big retailers, including Barnes and Noble and Borders, to carry more copies of the magazine and give them more prominent display," Mark Kelly said.
Kelly said that the expansion plans had resulted in staff changes at the magazine, among them his own appointment as publisher.
"There are a lot of good things going on," Kelly said.
He added that the exact timing of the bimonthly issue was yet to be worked out. At present, The World of Hibernia links itself to the seasons with spring, summer, fall and winter issues.
The latest spring issue was 180 pages, including the covers, while the summer issue, fresh off the plane, according to Kelly, weighs in at exactly the same page count.
Kelly said that the magazine currently figured on a readership of 130,000, although he was unsure about the exact current level of sales.
The company, he said, is now thinking primarily in terms of sales figures based on more issues, wider availability and a reduced cover price in a market where TWOH views its competition as the likes of European Vogue, and other titles in that rarified market range.