Taking My Hacks

There's No Doubt... it's a Web World

Joe Orlando

This is not news. This is not a surprise. This is simply the way it is. The Internet has changed the sports collectibles industry forever. It has strengthened the hobby in many ways while crushing other aspects of the business. Does it help sales? Yes. Does it make hobby information more accessible? Yes. Has it ensured that card shows are on their way to virtual extinction? Yes. Are magazines becoming a thing of the past as a result of the Internet? Yes.

For the moment, let's focus on that last question. Hobby publications were once healthy and numerous. During the 1980s, there were a number of different price guides and monthly magazines to choose from. Now, the Internet has caused most of those once-popular magazines to shrink like a cheap steak on a grill or disappear entirely. In some ways, it is sad to see them go. This is not necessarily a reflection of the strength of the market, just a sign of the times. It's like watching record, tape and CD players of the past get replaced with the MP3 players of the present.

Now, how will this change in the market change the way we handle SMR?

Well, I want to make something very clear. I am a huge proponent of SMR and it's not just because I help put it together each month. Believe me, there's plenty to do at PSA besides SMR. That being said, SMR plays a vital role in our business and providing hobby information is a big part of our mission. The bottom line is that I cannot imagine running PSA without SMR. We have no intentions of halting the presses so to speak.

There are, however, some things to consider as a result of our changing world. One immediate change, one that is important to note, is that we will be updating the online SMR much faster than ever before. In the past, we would time the online pricing updates with the release of the printed version. This was, of course, as a result of the natural delay in producing, printing and shipping the physical copy each month.

Now, that will change. We will update the online price guide as the changes are made each month. We will not delay the updating any longer to coincide with the printed release. As a matter of fact, this change has already occurred. This new approach started in late-August. While some of the printed pricing may have already changed online by the time you receive SMR in the mail, the need for timely pricing is simply more important. One of our goals moving forward is to improve the pricing overall and keeping the pricing more up-to-date is the first step.

In addition, we are considering further changes to SMR such as a greater focus on articles and market news versus pricing since; in essence, the online pricing will make some of the printed pricing appear dated. This is one area where I would appreciate your feedback. Assuming we continue to improve the quality of the online pricing, do you think we should continue to print any pricing within SMR or simply make SMR a magazine comprised of non-pricing content? Please, if you would like to offer your opinion, email me directly at [email protected] I look forward to your feedback and hope to continually enhance SMR in the coming months.

Hobby magazines may be a dying breed but we believe that there is still a place for the printed publication.

Never get cheated,

Joe Orlando

Joe Orlando
Editor In Chief

Joe Orlando has been an advanced collector of sportscards and memorabilia for over 25 years. Orlando attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California where he studied communications and was the starting catcher for the baseball team. After a brief stint in the minor leagues, Orlando obtained a Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School in Southern California in the spring of 1999. During the last fourteen years, Orlando has authored several collecting guides and dozens of articles for Collectors Universe, Inc. Orlando has also authored two books for Collectors Universe. Orlando's first book, The Top 200 Sportscards in the Hobby, was released in the summer of 2002. His second book, Collecting Sports Legends, was released in the summer of 2008. Orlando has appeared on several radio and television programs as a hobby expert including ESPN's award-winning program Outside the Lines and HBO's Real Sports, as the featured guest. Currently, Orlando is the President of PSA and PSA/DNA, the largest trading card and sports memorabilia authentication services in the hobby. He is also Editor of the company's nationally distributed Sports Market Report, which under Orlando's direction has developed into a leading resource in the market. Orlando also contributed the foreword and last chapter to The T206 Collection: The Players and Their Stories, a 2010 release, and to The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players, a 2013 release.