I check my mailbox, pull out an issue of Rolling Stone, and my roommate says, “You actually still subscribe to that?”
I go into my dorm’s lounge, plop down with the latest issue of Cosmopolitan, and my neighbor says, “Wow, you still read magazines?”
As a magazine journalism major, yes, I still read magazines. I thought that everyone still read magazines, until I heard these comments.
But then I thought, “Well, they’re probably too young to appreciate magazines,” or, “Maybe since they’re just college kids, they want to spend their money on something else.” But then I read this article by John Koblin at WWD Media about magazine apps for the iPad, the supposed future of magazines:
Vanity Fair sold 8,700 digital editions of its November issue, down from its average of about 10,500 for the August, September, and October issues. Glamour sold 4,301 digital editions in September, but sales dropped 20 percent in October and then another 20 percent, to 2,775, in November. GQ’s November edition sold 11,000 times, which was its worst performance since April (when the iPad was released) and represents a slight decline from its average digital sales of 13,000 between May and October.
Whoa. I know print is dying. All my professors have told me that. But they’ve also led me to believe that many online magazines, like our big brother the Good Men Project Magazine, are doing pretty well, and new technologies, like the iPad, are going to bring the magazines back to life (in digital form).
Unfortunately, they also taught me that numbers, especially sales, don’t lie.
Magazines serve purposes that people don’t realize. How else would you get the inside scoop from someone undercover at a Christian gay-to-straight conversion camp or why a man is expected to make the first move? Newspapers and news channels don’t have time to cover these things. They’re too worried about which house burnt down that day and who’s about to go to war with North Korea. But that doesn’t keep the human mind from being curious about other social, political, and economical issues that require the more in-depth coverage a magazine can provide.
I love magazines because each one holds a particular set of interests that readers can relate to. My subscriptions provide me with information and stories specific to me, just like there are magazines out there that can relate exclusively to you. I might like to read about 10 ways to lose weight while watching TV, but someone may be interested in the reason the human brain is shrinking. Still, people are letting this medium become a thing of the past.
With new technology making it easier and easier for people to get in touch with this information and actually read, I say enough is enough. With apps even cheaper than the newsstand price (as New York Magazine reminded us with GQ’s new app costing only $2.99) and ready to read at your fingertips, it has never been easier to fall in love with a magazine all over again.
Image Johan Larsson/Flickr