Serving the world of laser technology

...be it Brazil, Slovenia, or Mauritania

by David A. Belforte

This issue of Industrial Laser Solutions is the third in which we have presented features equally contributed by domestic and international authors. The reason: ILS is now a global publication read in 150 countries with visitors from 96 countries on our web site. Maybe our switch to global was too subtle for readers, but our advertisers were already aware of the wider reach that offered them access to our growing demographic of international readers, which now represent close to 50% of the total.

When we started 28 years ago, Industrial Laser Solutions, then known as Industrial Laser Review, was offered by paid subscription to readers outside of North America, and we had a small group of loyal international readers. Back in the day, these readers were generally located in advanced laser process development laboratories doing industrial process development, so the magazine was the information resource bringing them news on what was happening in the US. At that time, the US was the source of most developments in advanced industrial laser materials processing.

I was intrigued back then by a US company that purchased a number of subscriptions and then shipped these monthly to China. Years later, I met several technologists in China who told me about the value this modest publication was to them in a then otherwise closed-information society. One example: at a seminar in Wuhan, I was presented with a laser-engraved bamboo scroll by the head of a company who addressed me as the "Father of Laser Job Shops in China." He cited articles that I had published on this subject in the magazine as the impetus for this business.

Then there was an e-mail friendship that evolved with a garment manufacturer in Mauritania who read ILS faithfully. He told me that he only bought laser products that appeared in this magazine, an endorsement that we gratefully used with prospective advertisers.

With China now nicely covered by Industrial Laser Solutions–China, Japan will be covered later this year by a re-launch of Industrial Laser Solutions–Japan. That leaves the rest of the world bereft of a periodic international publication focused on industrial laser materials processing, thus the repositioning of ILS as a global resource for the technology, and the expansion of author geographies to bring the world of this technology to all readers.

So far in 2013, articles in the magazine have been split between US (54%) and Europe (46%). For the remainder of the year, we have already scheduled an even split between US and International articles.

Magazine distribution almost matches contributors: North America – 59%, Europe – 16%. Asia (not including China with its own publication) – 16%, and the ROW – 9%. On the ILS web site, www.industrial-lasers.com, among April visitors, 46% came from North America, 38% from Europe, 10% from Asia (not including China), and 6% for the ROW. This means that 57% of those reading ILS editorial and news are in North America and 43% come to us from international locations.

Industrial laser materials processing is an international technology. What may be practiced in a Vietnamese sheet metal-cutting shop looks exactly like what is being done in shops in Slovenia or Brazil, with similar business plans on the part of shop owners. Their information needs are being met by ILS in digital format and online. One common factor is that they all read English, or they wouldn't be accessing ILS. That makes our editorial and delivery procedures much easier; how else could we reach readers in more than 150 countries?

David A. Belforte
belforte@pennwell.com

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