My son left one of his magazines on the dining table yesterday. He’s reading the “Special Investors’ Issue” of Fortune, and the lead cover story is “Retire Rich”. I skimmed through the pages to see what else they had to offer, because I know for sure I’m not going to retire rich, and two articles caught my attention. One is about second careers and the other is about the real estate market. I don’t think I’ve ever picked up a magazine without finding something inside that I would read. (Okay, that statement works because there are a LOT of magazines I wouldn’t pick up in the first place!)
I think the magazines you read speak volumes about your age and income, interests and values, personality and hobbies- especially these days when you can read anything, anytime, on the internet and a magazine may cost a fortune. I saw one at the bookstore that was $8.99! I’ve paid less than that for a hardback book! No one is going to pay that kind of money for lots of advertising and a dozen articles unless it fulfils a need in their life.
The magazines around our house certainly reflect some diverse interests. My son reads Fortune, Money, Forbes, Field and Stream, and the Mensa Bulletin. He’ll also picks up history and boating magazines from time to time. My husband reads Popular Photography, Shutterbug, and anything with a car on the cover. My own magazines include Chronicles of Oklahoma, Writer’s Digest, Garden Gate, Birds and Blooms and Woman’s Day.
Just a few years ago there were dire predictions that magazines, and books, would be phased out by the internet. I’m sure there are lots of magazines that have disappeared from the racks. Others have paper and online versions. Still others have restyled and reformed in order to compete with the screen. Most of the major magazines are still on the newsstand. There is just something about the experience of reading a magazine that can’t be duplicated by chips and wires. I love the feel of magazines. I like to curl the left page back. I even like to read some of the ads. And who can resist the photos?
My mother loved magazines. I blame her for my addiction to them. Her favorites were The Writer, Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, Family Circle, Reader’s Digest, Redbook, and Ladies Home Journal. Those were the ones worth her money. However, there was, and still is, a “free” table at the library where people donated their magazines. Lots of interesting things came home from that table- anything from Opera Digest to The Cattleman. Of course Mom was a writer so she was always looking for ideas and markets for her work.
When I was actively writing for money I wrote 50-100 articles a year. I’ve been published in about fifty magazines. That sounds good, but it’s really only a fraction of the 2,000+ different magazines that are published each year. And I only wrote for four specific types of magazines- education, gardening, parenting, and travel. There are trade magazines, hobby magazines, consumer magazines, religious magazines, specialty magazines. The last time I checked there were eight different “inflight” magazines published just for air travelers. Each state has a magazine. Many towns have their own magazines.
I’ll admit I’m reading fewer magazines. I spend my money, and my time, on other things. But I think the industry will survive. If the newsstand at my local Books-A-Million is any indicator, there are thousands of people like me who love to curl up with a glossy magazine and read “Easy Tips to Save $1,000’s” or “The Ultimate Perennial List” or “How to Get Syndicated”. Okay, maybe the last one appeals to a slightly more limited audience. But there is a magazine for everyone. Tell me what you’re reading…