The male-order magazine Bachelor Book lets women shop

May 13, 1993|By Dottie Enrico | Dottie Enrico,Newsday

These days you can spot everything from hypo-allergenic dust cloths to Carolyne Roehm-designed doggy collars while browsing through catalogs. But Coral Springs, Fla.,-based publisher Mindi Rudan has added a new dimension to the home-shopping experience.

She publishes and markets the Bachelor Book, a national catalog for single, heterosexual women that is brimming with names, photos and addresses of dozens of eligible men. Ms. Rudan has jokingly dubbed her four-color magazine the "ultimate in male order."

"I started the Bachelor Book because I knew so many women who were having trouble meeting eligible men," says the 36-year-old Rudan. "Idon't mean to sound sexist, but I don't think the concept would work if I were featuring women instead of men. I'd be more concerned about safety issues with women. I assume most of the men who appear in the book are capable of handling any risky situations."

Even though Ms. Rudan started the publication over a year ago, until recently most of her subscribers heard about the publication, which is published five times a year, through word-of-mouth. But in December a couple who met through the Bachelor Book exchanged their vows on television's "Geraldo!" and Ms. Rudan also began a regular stint on a Canadian talk show.

Today, requests for copies have been pouring in and circulation for the Bachelor Book has reached 90,000. She has also begun to attract a few national advertisers from the travel industry, and the magazine is now available at newsstands. (Those interested in subscribing to the catalog should call toll-free (800) 766-7557. The cost is $24.75 for five issues.)

Experts say Ms. Rudan may have struck demographic gold, because, according to 1992 figures reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 85 single men of marriageable age for every 100 women and the total number of singles has grown from 67 million in 1980 to almost 82 million last year.

Over the past few years several dating services and other businesses targeted to singles have sprung up, and despite recessionary times many publications carrying classified personal ads said they saw business boom while other ad categories suffered.

Unlike most publications for singles, the Bachelor Book is published on glossy stock and distributed throughout the United States and Canada. Although the National Directory of Magazines lists more than 25 publications targeted to singles, most of them are distributed on newsprint stock and are anchored by pages of classified personal ads from a limited geographical area. One of the biggest problems that faces publishers of singles magazines is the need for geographical proximity.

"People are looking for events they can attend and people they can meet in their own area," says David Rose, business manager of SingleLife Magazine in Milwaukee, "Creating a magazine with people from New York for those who live in California just isn't practical."

The Bachelor Book features eligible men from all over the United States and Canada. Many of the bachelors featured in the Bachelor Book are recommended to the magazine's staffers by ex-girlfriends, sisters or colleagues and a photo of each man appears next to a 500-word write-up penned by a contributing writer, so it will not read like an expanded personal ad.

While many singles might be wary of public exposure, Ms. Rudan says that her staff conducts a Department of Motor Vehicles check on each bachelor and it also interviews two former girlfriends to assess whether or not the bachelor is marriage-minded or an aspiring international playboy.

She assures readers that no one has phoned in a complaint or safety concern about any of the bachelors featured in the publication.

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