Bowlers Journal

bowling ballA bowling magazine published since 1913 celebrated by printing a 300-page edition, reports Kevin Helliker in The Wall Street Journal (12/11/13). Consider just how unlikely this is for Bowlers Journal, which "operates at the intersection of bad and worse. Not only is the magazine industry troubled" but also "the number of competitive bowlers in America has plummeted from almost nine million to about two million" since 1980. And yet here is Bowlers Journal, "celebrating 100 years of world-class bowling journalism."

Its longevity is rare under any circumstances: "Of the 10,000 magazines on the US market, fewer than 100 date back 100 years," according to Samir A. Husni of the University of Mississippi’s Magazine Innovation Center. "Among those that date back more than a century, many, such as Vanity Fair, stopped publishing for periods of time, something Bowlers Journal never did." A big part of the reason is that Bowlers Journal "isn’t aimed at the 70 million Americans who rent shoes and balls for their once-a-year bowling excursion." It is written for serious, regular bowlers.

Bowlers Journal has always "offered an exalted view of the sport." Its founder, Dave Luby, "persuaded the top names in bowling either to write for the publication or give interviews to it." Competitors, meanwhile "really had no handle on journalism," says Mort Luby, Jr., grandson of the founder. "Bowlers Journal always gave you everything," says professional bowler Diandra Asbaty. "It covers the news. It covers the world. It teaches you how to improve your game." Perhaps most incredibly, its charter advertiser, Brunswick Corp., has purchased the back-cover ad of every issue since 1913.

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