Industry News 9/8/2008

Skateboarding's I'll-Behaved Offspring Have Grown Up, Spawned SkateBook and Changed all the Rules

Skateboarding's I'll-Behaved Offspring Have Grown Up, Spawned SkateBook and Changed all the Rules
Fabled Skater Salman Agah and Skate Photography's Godfather Mike Ballard's SkateBook has Become the Ultimate Measure of Brand Credibility

The skateboarding industry is an anomaly for many reasons, however, one of the most profound irregularities can be found in the realm of skateboard publishing. Skateboard magazines are virtually the only publishing medium where readers race to every new issue to check out the new ads. Once skateboarding became a significant global revenue stream, the brands featured in these ads were more often than not, the brands with the best budget, not necessarily the best for the consumer. While this is not a new phenomenon in publishing, money dictating trends, skaters are a completely different beast and simply will not be bought.
 
Enter two of skateboarding’s most prolific veterans, past recipient of Thrasher Magazine’s coveted “Skater of the Year” award, Salman Agah and skateboard photographer Mike Ballard. When Salman and Mike recognized that being published by the standard skating magazines was no longer synonymous with credibility for skaters or skate brands, they decided to throw a serious wrench into the system, not by just challenging the publishers, but by becoming the publishers. This was the birth of Skatebook and the death of the old publishing guard.
 
In typical fashion, Agah and Ballard decided to go big. They bypassed magazines altogether and created Skatebook, a hardbound – 350+ page series of coffee table books packed with epic content created for skaters, by skaters. Skatebook instantly brought authenticity, credibility and value back to the skateboard community by publishing a brand vehicle dedicated to the people and companies that are respected for their loyalty to skaters, not capitalism.
 
While the production of Skatebook itself would be considered the significant victory, it is the fact that each book is distributed to approved shops only and then passed along to the consumer at a minimal expense. Skatebook is used at autograph signings by any number of skateboarding professionals that support the project and as a result, the books have become very difficult to keep in supply. Agah and Ballard have succeeded in making Skatebook a publication that not only can’t be put down, but readers spend exponentially more time on each page than when reading any magazine. Not to mention, there is an online component at Skatebook.tv that works hand-in-hand with the book to deliver a massive amount of content for the reader and maximum visibility for the brands featured.

Skatebook is supported by brands such as New Era, Vans, LRG, Emerica, Altamont, Nike, Zero, Fallen, DC Shoe Company, Nike SB, Element, Etnies and more, all of which have earned their credibility by remaining authentic and loyal to the soul of the sport and Skatebook is rewarding them with coverage in what has become the only pure source for skateboarding content. Agah and Ballard have structured a new system, which rewards brands for their integrity, not their capital.
 
The Skatebook concept is an anomaly in itself, which is why it has such a stronghold on the skateboard community. There are many more game changing projects and ideas being developed by Agah and Ballard that are certain to make quite a few people and publishers nervous. If you ask them, they wouldn’t have it any other way.

For more information about Skatebook, visit www.skatebook.tv.