"it seems almost all of the knowledge of UL techniques and such come from the forums now"
Absolutly. Anything of interest on the main site is discussed on the forums, and its hashed out, rehashed, and if the topic is real juicy, the topic is beat until the proverbial dead horse is not just dead, but starting to get a touch putrid...
The forum content is extremely informative, and your not going to find it elsewhere... but I will say right here and now that the software quality of the forum is quite lacking, and that effects the user experience, and if BPL has any plans on making forum access "members only"... well, Im not sure the forums are reason enough to maintain membership here.
"It seems the online version was a lot richer and more focused before the print version was introduced."
True again... Were BPL what it is today, I wouldnt have subscribed. Now, the content of BPL is getting to be more and more "softball" and as I said, the good stuff is now all in the forum.
"subscribing to the non-online member print version... [means] I get no discounts on BPL gear."
I dont buy much of anything online anymore. I make what I can, and what I cant make, I try to find locally first. If I dont find it locally, Ill CONSIDER buying online but more and more I keep asking myself "If nobody has it locally, do I NEED it THAT bad????" Im not an uber-super-hyper-mega-light backpacker, and so I dont need the really specialist gear. Long story short, I didnt sign up or the discount. Truth be told, I havent bought ANYTHING from the BPL store.... of course that has as much to do with availablity of products as much as anything else.
"not to mention the whole issue of environmental impact of using paper and air freight"
even though we are talking a minor impact, all things considered, I do whatever I can to reduce paper coming into my house. I thought BPL Online was great because there was a ton of information, and no waste. Kinda like gutenberg.org, but for backpacking. Now I find out that the good stuff is only available in print? Bummer.
So, anyway, I wanna know whats going on with BLP Print, BPL Online, and maybe a hint at whats going to happen with the forums, so I can decide where my $$$ is gonna go.