Monday, December 14, 2015

Renewing Our Subscription with Magazines

Those glossy pages have more to offer than their electronic counterparts. ♦ 
Running to catch your plane, stopping in at the airport newsstand, you grab a magazine to keep yourself entertained for the long ride. But why wouldn’t you just look up magazines on your laptop? Maybe there’s something about the shiny paper that's simply more enjoyable to flip through, something glamorous, even, about a physical magazine. Something that just can’t be replicated with a fingerswipe across a cold screen.
   Magazines in print aren't going anywhere, and there are a number of reasons for this. For one, the type of content published in magazines is more suitable to be read in print because it is better perceived in this form for the reader. The print format is more visually and organizationally accessible than the electronic alternative and, overall, suits the content better. Print can positively affect the experience of the content through tactility, through the way the physical form affects how material is presented and accessed; even the placement of ads is more enjoyable to flip through, and part of the experience, in print as opposed to the annoying, pop-up distractions advertising can be in electronic reading. Magazines are like the Super Bowl: you don’t skip through the commercials while you're watching it. The ads in a magazine are part of the appeal.
   Since reaching the technological age, and especially with the iPad’s invention, print magazine publishing has faced unprecedented challenges, as it’s less certainly expensive to create and more convenient to download the magazine’s app on your iPad or Kindle. In fact, you can pay almost nothing for an app that has the same articles as your favorite magazine.
   However, the layout of a magazine is lost in the electronic format, just as with e-books. Purchasing a magazine or subscribing is much like buying the hardback book you wanted, and not just because it looks nicer and has a sort of nostalgia for tangibility attached to it. People who buy books and magazines enjoy physical editions; not everyone wants to stare at the same screen they look at all day for work. And in terms of simple aesthetics print has the advantage, as some online editions are skewed to fit the screen and don’t include the same content as print versions.
   Unfortunately for the print and publishing industries, their customers might not be buying enough. In a New York Times article, “Wondering How Far Magazines Must Fall” by David Carr, he states “People magazine was down 18.6 percent, and The New Yorker had a similar drop, declining by 17.4 percent. Vogue and Cosmopolitan were down in the mid teens, and Time fell 31 percent.” With these numbers, larger companies in the digital world fear that the print industry will continue to decline, as it has become convenient to do everything online.
   It is true that print magazines have begun to decline in sales, but there are features that print magazines possess that e-magazines can’t rival. Print form magazines can lend themselves to long-form content and, unlike the fast-paced, 180-character world of the Internet, take their time in leading their readers to a point. Print form also makes the reading experience more private and personal, perhaps due to that sense of ownership one has when purchasing the physical; once you're done reading the magazine, you can choose to toss it and recycle it, or even keep it for years to come in tangible form. It’s easy to share as well, you can hand the magazine off to the next reader, whereas the iPad and Kindle are limited to the owner, with files near impossible to transfer to differing devices or those who don’t have e-readers.
   Magazine sales won’t succumb to e-magazine’s supposed convenience. Many readers still enjoy the experience of purchasing and handling print publications and will continue to enjoy them simply because e-books can’t offer the same experience. Print certainly needs to mend the money issue—you hardly see newspapers being read anymore when the Sunday paper goes for six dollars—and the bleak economy has set back the entire print industry and then some, but magazines are still the most promising format of print material there is. Print magazines aren’t facing extinction, aren’t irrelevant, and most certainly are still the best way to read your favorite juicy articles.
  • About the Author
    Morgan Rose Pearl was born in Lake Forest, Illinois, and grew up in Denver, Colorado. She recently moved to Oxford, Ohio, to attend Miami University and earn an English degree. Growing up, she and her family drove to the mountains every weekend in Colorado to ski and spent summers in Nantucket. She loves to write and enjoys writing mostly fictional pieces, as it allows her to be creative and spontaneous.

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