What’s Going To Happen To Magazines?

I love magazines, but I’m unsure of their future.I like to read. I think it’s part of being a professional writer. I read books (I love my Kindle). I read some newspapers. I read a lot online. But I still have a special place for magazines. I’m not sure if it’s the color photos or the tactile feel of the glossy pages or the in-depth features, but I still love a good magazine. In fact, I was reading a magazine the other day (maybe on the treadmill) and saw a nice ad for… magazines. Not a specific magazine, mind you. For magazines in general.

It was one of those “consciousness raising” ads that people who are under attack create to defend themselves without looking like they are defending themselves (think “coal industry”). It said something to the effect of “the internet isn’t killing magazines… in fact, magazine sales have actually increased!” Now, I’m not sure where they got their data from, but I’ll bet that the statistic they’re quoting is less black and white than it sounds. After all, I’m one of the only people I know who subscribes to multiple magazines any more. Of course, my evidence is merely anecdotal, but I don’t think I would be wrong in saying that – at the very least  – the internet has caused a seismic shift in the magazine business.

After all, as more and more people get their news and information online, how can that not hurt magazines? The internet is killing newspapers one by one, and magazines are next, right? I’m not sure. Newspapers have positioned themselves as being timely and local (get your news at the breakfast table), and I think the internet can do both of those things better. You can get your news on your laptop, iPad or even your e-reader now – and it’s as fresh (and in many cases, local) as you can get. But magazines are different. For the most part, they’ve sold themselves for their “in-depth” coverage and nice photos. The internet can do both of those things too, but probably not any better. Maybe that means they’ll be around longer. Maybe they’ll simply turn into an online presence like everything else.

Either way, I’m not afraid to suggest magazine advertising to our clients, as long as the target audience is a good fit. I think they are going to be around for a while longer. At least I hope they are.