When Less Can Become More

by Paul Edwards

The board of publications is going to change the face of ACB, we think! I am excited to be writing this article and excited about what it contains. To understand what we propose, I need to go back into history a little. As ACB has found itself facing tough budget decisions, "The ACB Braille Forum" has, at various times, had to take it on the chin and produce fewer issues. This is largely because of the relatively high cost of making our magazine available to you. Up until four years ago, the Forum represented about 15 percent of ACB's budget. When an issue or two got dropped, ACB saved a lot of money. The other thing that folks need to know is that the size of the magazine has decreased as well. During 2012, ACB produced 10 issues. Nine of them were 32 pages of large print and one was 48 pages of large print. This got us 336 pages of "The ACB Braille Forum." Because we have seriously purged our subscription list, the publication cost about $70,000.
The budget committee informed us that we were going to lose an issue this year because ACB will be operating with a deficit budget this year and there just was not enough money to publish the Forum with 10 issues.
Some of us did some number-crunching and discovered that the difference between the cost of our 32-page issue and our 48-page issue was not very large. So we decided to propose a radical alteration to "The ACB Braille Forum." We will be producing six issues of the Forum this year, not the nine we were offered by the budget committee and board. However, each of the issues will be 56 pages long, which will allow us to publish more and longer articles than we could with such a small footprint as the one with which we operated. That will actually mean that we will be producing exactly the same number of pages as we did last year but for considerably less money. I think that decision by itself would have been a good one.
However, that is not where we propose to stop. We will be producing the new and enlarged "ACB Braille Forum" every other month, and we'll be producing a second magazine that will appear in the month that "The ACB Braille Forum" does not. This magazine will be produced in electronic form and will not be size limited. It will be available as a Web-Braille file on BARD and, we firmly believe, as an audio download from BARD as well. It will be available as an RTF electronic file, and as a narrated version that will be downloadable from our web site. Of course you can receive a copy of the new magazine by e-mail and, in addition to all these places where you can find it, "The ACB Braille Forum" and our new magazine will both be available through Newsline thanks to the good offices of the NFB and state library systems who support it. There is more detail about this new development in a separate article.
For now, we are calling the other publication "The ACB E-Forum," and you can look forward to your first issue in April or May.
We have already begun negotiations with radio reading services to see if we can encourage them to air part or all of our new magazine, and we encourage those of you who use such services to help us by asking them to carry the E-Forum and other ACB Radio programming, for that matter. The board and the board of publications are excited about our plans for the future. We will be able to communicate with you more often and with more material and for less money! We hope you will let us know what you think of the new and exciting approach we are taking this year and we hope you will write for both publications!