In Defense of Print Magazines
There's just something about opening a brand new magazine. The feel of the thin, shiny pages between your fingertips, new and thought-provoking content hiding behind every page (and the slightly annoying tear-out offers that populate the pages - I'll give you that one) and that particular feeling you get when you close the back cover, having absorbed every word on every page and memorized the designer credits in every editorial.
I have grown up reading magazines. I have frequently subscribed to anywhere from five to ten publications simultaneously. As I've mentioned before, I simply love content.
As a magazine junkie, fashion became a natural next love. I quickly became entranced by the industry, and lived vicariously through the pages of Vogue, Glamour and Seventeen. However, many of the publications that I've grown to recognize on the shelves of a newsstand are fast disappearing.
This week, it was announced that SELF would be stopping its print production after the February 2017 issue. This comes after news earlier this year that SELF would begin to share its business and operational teams with Glamour. In November, Teen Vogue announced that it would be cutting back on its print issues, moving from a monthly edition to a quarterly addition. On Friday, December 2nd, it was reported that Hearst Publications would be combining the beauty, fashion and entertainment departments of Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Redbook, Woman's Day and Good Housekeeping starting in January.
These shakeups in the iconic publishing houses signal the larger trend going on in the industry - people aren't subscribing to print issues as much as they used to. Whether that is related to the convenience and immediacy of digital content or simply cost-based, this is a problem that every aspect of the publishing community is facing and one that those of us who are in love with the printed page are dreading coming to a head.
In defense of print magazines, there is just nothing else like them. Reading a print issue of a magazine forces you to sit down with the content and focus on it, unlike reading content on your phone or even on your laptop. I realize that this may seem a bit hypocritical coming from someone who has recently started an online magazine - but let me explain. It is my dream to one day turn this online magazine into a bonafide print publication. My time at Moda Magazine renewed my love for seeing content that we had worked so hard on on a printed page. As I said before, there is something special - for readers and writers - about print.
As we look ahead to the future, I believe that there is only one way to turn this harrowing trend around - a major cultural shift. In order for print publications to become as prevalent as they once were, our culture needs to move toward viewing media as an opportunity to learn, rather than an opportunity to consume. There needs to be a shift toward actively spending time with media rather than having it act as background noise. We need to become analytical thinkers, and be skeptical when reading/watching/listening to our content rather than believing everything at first exposure. The only way that print will again become the behemoth that it once was is if we choose to consume media intentionally instead of based on proximity or convenience.
What are your feelings toward print media? Do you think the industry has reached its end? Where do we go from here? Share your opinion in the comments below.