Reinvention: The Backcast Concept

Posted on 7/27/2009 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

If you sell pictures for use in print publications, take a look at Backcast Online Magazine---not so much for the content, although it is great, but for the concept, which could be a huge new opportunity and salvation for editorial photographers.

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Selling Stock is an on-line newsletter that reports on developing trends in the stock photo industry. It is updated at least twice a month. On-line subscribers receive e-mail notification whenever new stories are posted. Archives containing stories going back to late 1995 are fully available to subscribers.

Copyright © 2009 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


  • Bob Prior Posted Jul 30, 2009
    Not really a huge NEW opportunity in our view , as we introduced the digital edition of Stock Index USA in 2007 (sample at and it did not quite turn out the way you are portraying here as being ‘cheap’ or ‘free’.

    Yes, we got hundreds of requests but the majority of researchers and buyers ALSO ordered the printed copy, so very little of what you are presenting materialised.

    Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that none of your crystal ball gazing meets the needs of researchers and buyers, whereas printed paper does.

    After all how does ‘your’ world work on a train, bus or plane or sitting back in your chair with a coffee and Danish at your elbow.

    Furthermore, nothing compares to a impact of a ‘wow’ inducing ‘killer’ image printed on paper – such images are what the stock business is about – selling.

    The essence of ‘selling’ has been forgotten, with the industry supporting the current lazy thinking that as long as it ‘fills a hole’ in the layout then it is good enough. If this were true why not just print a magazine front cover blank – now that IS cutting costs – and sales!

    Your piece seems a policy of deletion. I quote re revenue “None is wasted on printing” and then you say “publishers and distributors would no longer be needed”. So you seem to be advocating the ‘removal’ of the publishing, printing and distribution industries.

    As we have found at Stock Index USA the internet and digital editions do not work the way you say. It was the same when they invented cars - they didn’t shoot all the horses as it is somewhat difficult to win the Kentucky Derby in a Ford – there were outstanding benefits to both, and by viewing them as complementary they worked together.

    The internet and digital delivery of information should be harnessed to work with other media not be promoted to destroy it. To do so will only result in a repeat of what happened to the Seattle Post who decided to close its printed edition and go ‘web only’. In March ’09 it lost 23% of its unique web users. So, without a printed edition to remind its readers to visit the website, traffic fell dramatically.

    I seem to have travelled a long way from the opening paragraph, but I believe that we have got so caught up in the debating new technology and how it should be harnessed and made to be cost effective that we have forgotten the REAL purpose of the stock business – great pictures.

    It is “killer” images that sell product – and whether it be a magazine, book, advert or the internet – powerful images are vital to the life blood of their success.

    The thinking should not totally be about how to use the internet to sell a commodity called stock photography. The business is not solely to do with selling images - but about images selling product – which should be priced accordingly. Maybe then we can stop the words ‘free’ and ‘cheap’ being the language of today’s stock business.

    Robert Prior - Publisher

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