SBJ/June 4 - 10, 2001/No Topic Name

Baltimore host/owner Aparicio back in print with book on Ravens’ season

Nestor Aparicio is one of sports radio's hardest-working entrepreneurs. He hosts a national show on Sporting News radio, owns his own sports station in Baltimore and promotes himself and his show with everything from charity dinners to road trips that he organizes for his listeners.

But Aparicio's background is in print (he was previously a sportswriter for the Baltimore Sun), and now he has returned to the medium, again with an entrepreneurial twist. Aparicio has written and self-published "Purple Reign: Diary of a Raven Maniac," a book about the Baltimore Ravens and their Super Bowl season. (It chronicles not just this season but also football's return to Baltimore, owner Art Modell's financial struggles and the building of the current roster.)

"A couple of people gave lip service to writing a book afterwards, but no one followed through," he said, explaining that the team and the Sun both published coffee table picture books. Aparicio printed 10,000 copies (through Junior Press, which handles his newsletter) and said he has sold 2,000 since April 19.

Aparicio, who got Ravens coach Brian Billick to write an introduction, said he had "access to anyone I wanted."

Equally significant, he had an easy way to promote the book and a unique plan for distributing it. "When you have the ear of the entire community and friends in the media like I do, it's easy," he said, adding that not only can he plug it on his own show — and sell it through his Web site — but that his contacts have led to media coverage. He said he appeared on a local television morning show and sold 200 copies that day.

The book, a glossy-covered, 270-page paperback that retails for $20, is carried in some Barnes & Noble and independent bookstores. Aparicio balked at giving bookstores their traditional 40 percent discount, calling it "borderline suicide," since he also is selling the book online himself. He got several bookstores to buy it for 15 percent off.

 GOLF FOR WOMEN SOLD: Golf Digest Cos. is buying Golf for Women from the Meredith Corp. for a reported $25 million, though specific terms were not disclosed. (Golf Digest Cos. is owned by Advance Publications, SportsBusiness Journal's parent company.) Meredith said it would focus on its core titles, such as Country Home and Better Homes and Gardens.

Golf for Women is one golf publication showing growth in ad revenue. The magazine, which finished 2000 up 6 percent in ad pages and 19 percent in ad dollars for the year, is down 10.8 percent in ad pages through April, to 108.7 pages, according to Publishers Information Bureau. But it is up 3.1 percent, to $4.3 million, in dollars.

By contrast, Golf Digest is down 15 percent in ad pages and 3.5 percent in ad revenue. Its rival, Golf, is down 14.5 percent in pages and 13 percent in revenue. (Both titles, however, are far larger, with nearly 500 ad pages each and $48.9 million in revenue for Golf Digest and $38.9 million for Golf.) Only Travel & Leisure Golf, which, like Golf, is owned by AOL Time Warner, is up in both ad pages (1.4 percent, to 164.3 pages) and ad revenue (17 percent, to $6.3 million.)

The purchase of Golf for Women, which has a circulation of 400,000, may mean the death of Advance's Golf Digest Woman, with a circulation of 265,000.

  GUNS & AMMO & SAFETY: In September, Guns & Ammo, which is owned by Emap USA, will launch its first public service campaign promoting gun safety. The campaign, which will feature five full-page ads, will last six months. The magazine will partner with Emap's other gun-related titles such as Handguns, Hunting, Rifle Shooter, Gun Dog and even some other Emap USA titles such as 4-Wheel and Off-Road. The goal, according to statements released by Emap USA, is to increase safe handling of guns while diverting attention from advocates promoting gun control regulations.

Stuart Miller can be reached at smiller@amcity.com.

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