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Hardcopy, Technical Magazine for Users of Digital, Is Sold by Seldin Publishing

Times Staff Writer

Seldin Publishing in Placentia has sold Hardcopy, a technical magazine for users of Digital Equipment minicomputers, to rival Digital News, which plans to convert Hardcopy into a supplement in its publication.

Hardcopy will publish its final stand-alone issue next week, according to Donald Frazier, a spokesman for Boston-based IDG Communications, which publishes Digital News.

Hardcopy, started in 1980 by George Seldin, claims to be the first publication distributed to users of DEC minicomputers, the primary product of Digital Equipment Corp. in Maynard, Mass. Frazier and Seldin declined to reveal Hardcopy’s sale price.

As Digital has prospered, the magazine’s circulation has grown, reaching a peak of 82,000 this year. However, Seldin said that in recent years a growing number of competing publications like Digital News have cut into Hardcopy’s advertising base.

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Hardcopy and the other publications are distributed free, making them entirely reliant on advertisers--most often suppliers and vendors of computer system products.

Hardcopy’s share of advertising space for DEC publications slipped from 23% in 1986 to 16% this year, according to Ziff-Davis Publishing, which publishes a third DEC-users journal, Boston-based Digital Review. Ziff-Davis claims to sell 38% of the DEC-oriented advertising space in the nation.

Seldin Publishing will continue to publish its Digital Annual Directory, which includes listings of Digital Equipment suppliers and vendors. And Seldin said he hopes to expand his company’s market research business. He said he expects to retain about half of the magazine’s 30-member staff for his company’s other operations.

“In the early days, our success came in spite of ourselves,” said Seldin, who leased computers and had no publishing experience when he started the magazine.

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IDG publishes 101 computer-related newspapers and magazines, including publications for Digital users in England, Australia and Sweden. Frazier said that with the purchase of Hardcopy, Digital News hopes to become the market leader in the Digital category with 40% of the advertising market.


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