Source Interlink Files For Bankruptcy

sourceinterlinkFirst, on February 3rd I received by email from one of  my sources alarming information regarding Source Interlink, publisher of 75 magazines (including Hot Bike, Street Chopper, Baggers, Motorcycle Cruiser, Motorcyclist, etc). News that the company would probably cease their distribution, was terminating many  high level positions within their motorcycle titles, and was already contemplating filling for Chapter 11 reorganization.

Since then the economy continued its degradation, the numbers provided by ABC (Audit Bureau Of Circulation) indicating that newsstand print magazine sales were falling at a fast pace with advertisers disappearing, cutting their budget and/or transferring it to new successful Online Magazines & Blogs. On Tuesday, Source Interlink filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and at the same time issued a statement where the group declares that there is an ongoing court proceeding for immediate restructuration to operate its business without interruption.

Personally, I think that there are already too many publishing companies looking for investors, and that Source Interlink, if any reorganization is possible after eliminating debt and turning into a private company, will be forced to close definitively many of his enthusiast print magazines.  I also believe that only very specialized enthusiast print magazines (“vertical” or “niche” motorcycle magazines) will be able to survive if running a mean and lean structure. It is worth noting that if the economic situation has accelerated the decline of all print magazines and newspapers, the way people look for news has completely changed, especially these last 5 years, with the web being the number 1  overall source for news and information. As an example since one year this Blog has more readers than the #1  American V-Twin Motorcycle print magazine. Realizing this, most motorcycle print magazines are trying now to enter and acquire a share of the news digital space.

29 Responses to “Source Interlink Files For Bankruptcy”

  1. 1 Nicker Apr 30th, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Not surprising in a country where increasingly fewer people “Read” anything.
    (maybe even fewer people can read at all)


  2. 2 Sheridan Apr 30th, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    I’ll be saddest to see Street Chopper go, after all this time…

  3. 3 jatinder pal May 1st, 2009 at 3:42 am

    I had copies of HOT BIKE,i read it religiously,it so sad to see it going….do we have a alternate.

  4. 4 MotoXcycle May 1st, 2009 at 6:08 am


    I guess now you will have to add more content to your blog so we can get more stories and pictures of builds from you instead.


  5. 5 JB May 1st, 2009 at 7:16 am

    I’ve had HotBike on international subscription for a few years. Over the past 6 months only 50% the issues have gotten to me. I realise the web is the number 1 place to find info but you can’t lie in the bath and ‘read’ it like a paper magazine!

  6. 6 J May 1st, 2009 at 7:41 am

    Evolution is a funny thing……

  7. 7 John May 1st, 2009 at 7:44 am


    Flipping pages through a magazine is not reading. And if you look at book sales this year, they actually have risen.

  8. 8 Pepper May 1st, 2009 at 8:17 am

    Very sad news.

  9. 9 Rodent May 1st, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Everyday I read the New York Times, San Francisco Gate, El Paso Urinal, Daytona News Urinal, Hollister Free Lance, Sturgis Fish Wrapper & this blog on line. Print media is on its way out. Now we’ll have more trees for firewood instead of burning dinasorure shit.

  10. 10 THUG CUSTOM CYCLES May 1st, 2009 at 9:36 am


  11. 11 Wacko May 1st, 2009 at 9:53 am

    That sucks but now I will have more folks reading my stories at BIKERNET!

    Cyril’s following will grow as well, I am sure.

    A paperless world/desk/office has been talked about for over a decade. I would have never have guessed that a bad economy would push us in the paperless direction.

  12. 12 Lon Nordbye May 1st, 2009 at 10:03 am

    I would wait to hear from the publisher before you count them completely out.

  13. 13 Grayhawk May 1st, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Sorry but it will be tough on some of you to take the laptop with you to the throne room. But at least you can get a hint your employees may not be using the laptop for work.

    Just a bit of humor in tough times, internet is doing more for the trees than any green movement and as such changing how we read, smart companies will evolve/have evolved to be internet based or a sigment of their busines split in same. How many of you are migrating to online parts and product sites and advertising on the web or in your shop or on your web site, same difference same path. So hope they do not go away entirely but if its business smart to change the format it is what it is. Will miss my rag rack in the throne room.


  14. 14 aft customs May 1st, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Very few magazines will run a metric custom.They have turned away a whole sector of the industry because of this.That means fewer readers & fewer advertisers.The online mags don’t have this narrow minded thinking.This is the Motorcycle industry & it’s about time we ban together & start thinking like Motorcyclists or we will lose the battle against all the government regulation that’s on the horizon.The magazines going away makes our industry look weak.

  15. 15 Brenda Fox May 1st, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    I’m with Lon… good thoughts on not counting them out.

    Things shake up, get stirred about and then the situation ends up being a way to restructure and move forward.

  16. 16 P. Messner May 1st, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    The world has changed and will never be the same. I agree with Cyril that the recession precipitated many changes and killed many unadapted businesses. Print magazines will remain. But less of them. They will have to find a way to bring to the readers a content that internet doesn’t bring. Very difficult because there is almost nothing that the internet can’t provide, even beautiful pictures, tech articles, etc. Why to buy a magazine to read in 2/3 months what I can read online right away for free. We want fast, expert and accurate news and the possibility to participate and express our opinions. It’s the reason why Cyril’s blog is so successful. But I still would like to receive at least one print magazine, but not the type that is offered. Problem is that I am not sure about what the content should be for me to read one again.

  17. 17 Pitbull May 1st, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    It is a fact of the times, if you look at newspaper sales they are down, most people read online now days.

  18. 18 James (Kiwi) May 1st, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    I have a sign on my offiice wall that reads


    Kenny Hamc England

    Which for the last 4-5 years I have been quoting to people and they laughed at me.
    I am about to do the “Remember when I Said this ”

    War ,recessions,depressions and greed all speed up the social evolution and there is always casualties.

    I recieved my Horse -Back Street Choppers from my local book shop yesterday (Friday) and am sitting here at home reading how their sales are holding steady.Their core market is the Paint an chrome guys and girls,the home builders, old school type bikers and the young new build your own bikers.
    The Shops that advertise in that mag are looking for the people who do not treat our way of life as a fad or trend.
    Even in the Easy Rider that came out a couple of moths ago there was the original Dave Mann centre fold.I bought it straight away.I have ER’s going back to the 70’s in my bike shed but in recent years they were looking for the big buck trendy fad market.So i stopped buying.Maybe they want me and my ilk to start buying again.
    I spend sixty of our dollars a month on magazines and keep em.
    Bloody hard to look at back issues on a computer and not all images and articles are kept on line.
    Sorry for being so long winded ,but I am an avid collector of Biker books and mags

    James (Kiwi)

  19. 19 J May 3rd, 2009 at 8:11 am

    I think it’s more of a cycle, really- look at the last boom-bust in biking in the early 80’s- a lot of magazine titles disappeared then, too.

    I don’t think we need multiple permutations of Hot Bike, or dedicated sub-specialties of magazines- mags kinda shot themselves in the foot a bit here, trying to over-diversify, and wound up diluting their core sales- advertisers were suddenly being asked to buy ads in 4 publications where there used to be 1, and they wound up looking for alternative ways to market their wares.

    After the rubble cools, print media will adapt- how bout coming out with ONE solid version of Hot Bike?

  20. 20 Dave Blevins May 3rd, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    I’m with Kiwi on this one… nothing really measures up to print magazines (no offense Cyril). Blogs like this one are great for immediate release of short articles, but none really offer in-depth tech articles, DIY, how to stuff, etc., and while Cyril is far better than most at having good photos, there is usually only one photo per topic.
    In the end, I think it is unfair to compare the net to magazines equally… they are two very different media. But cost is king and time is money, certainly less expensive to produce an internet magazine than a print magazine but we should also remember that you get what you pay for.
    Perhaps a few solid publishing houses will survive and keep motorcycling magazines around. I get several mags at the shop and like keeping them to page through and would miss them if they were gone.

  21. 21 Scharf May 4th, 2009 at 8:50 am

    This is very disheartening for me to hear. I’ve been working very hard building my magazine with the ultimate goal of getting it on the newsstands. I have also been working on an online version, but I feel it’s not the same as paper. You can’t collect online issues or pull out the poster and cool photos hang them on the wall. A print issue has more life, and despite what many may think not every young guy out there is a computer guy. Many of the gear heads that I know aren’t computer savvy or can even afford a computer. So if you really care about print magazines, then subscribe! The more subscribers a magazine can show the more advertisers they can attract.

    The fact that many biker and motorcycle related magazine are failing is not solely related to the poor economy. The fact is all but a few have remained the same for decades! No style and poor photography! Hell once you have read a single issue of most biker rags you have read them all! With each issue being basically the same dam thing issue after issue, just new pics dropped into boxes and some lame story about fat tires and Johnson rods!

    Bottom line most biker mags are boring! In my opinion Cycle Source is the only mag on the stands that gets it! It’s time to spice it up! There is a new breed of biker and they want style and quality that the old rags don’t offer. Hell I just got a request for a subscription to my mag (Renegade Magazine) from one of the editors of one big dog corporate magazines, which I won’t mention. So there is hope!

    With all this said I’m not giving up! Renegade Magazine will continue to grow and one day will be on the newsstand!

    Have no fear print is not dead! Renegade is on the way!

    Sorry for all the plugs Cyril

  22. 22 Kenny Price May 4th, 2009 at 11:33 am

    source interlink is so big that the bike magazines are a drop in the bucket.

  23. 23 GTLover May 4th, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    I bought issues of Hot Bike and Street Chopper occasionally, if there was a feature that I was interested in. But I’ve had a subscription to Motorcyclist almost as long as I’ve been riding. For all the publishers it’s going to come down to the titles with the broadest appeal or a specialty mag with a large dedicated reader base. But at the same time, more and more content is online, with the ability to reach more people at a lower “per copy” cost. I don’t think the magazines are going out like the newspapers, but it’s time to cut out some dead wood, no pun intended.

  24. 24 David May 5th, 2009 at 12:03 am

    I just di a search for Source Interlink and found out what the deal is. They tried to force a price increase on the mags and their publishers and the publishers said NO! Do a search and find out more for yourself. Ted Turner is getting greedy again.


  25. 25 Ted Sands May 5th, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Hot Bike and it’s entire group of motorcycle magazines has been bought and sold at least 6 times over the last 15 years, when the price is right someone will buy them up and carry on… hopefully! Hey Dave Withrow whata think?

  26. 26 Buzz Kanter - American Iron Magazine May 5th, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    In case anyone here is not aware, Source Interlink did a prepackaged chapter 11 with the lenders approval. Not sure how many people understand what this means, but it has little short term effect on the production or distribution of the Source Interlink magazines but a lot of effect on how the financials are handled.

    Basically, in the prepack Chapter 11 the companies with debt swap it for equity so the company no longer has to make interest payments. This will free up a lot of cashflow that was going to interest payments and can now go to growth.

    Typically this is done to take a public company private so it can then be taken public again in 3 to 5 years.

    While some magazines and web sites (motorcycle and otherwise) will be folding, I would not include all Source Interlink titles among them.

    Buzz Kanter

  27. 27 road12 May 6th, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    As Buzz mentioned, Source Interlink has been working on this chapter 11 deal for a while
    Nobody is going away and no magazine will be cut off. Instead of staying public, the company will continue to exist with the same magazines and same people. It will simply go back to a privately owned company.

    Basically starting from scratch with fresh owner and debt free.

  28. 28 Nicker May 8th, 2009 at 8:46 pm


    “…Flipping pages through a magazine is not reading….”

    Very True.

    “… And if you look at book sales this year, they actually have risen….”

    But then Tom Clancy and Romance novels don’t qualify as “reading material” either……. 🙂


  1. 1 Source Interlink Gets Approval On Restructuring Plan at Patumwan Blog Pingback on May 30th, 2009 at 6:15 am
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