Thursday, March 15, 2012

On the resurrection of magazines

Once I was a magazine Queen. As a compulsive reader, when I put down a book, I picked up a magazine.

From pop music classics Spunky and Tiger Beat and the quintessential Dolly as a teenage girl, to a brief flirtation with Cleo as a young woman before plunging into a mixture of women's and parenting journals as a mother and non-housewife, only the most dire shortage of cash would stop me popping them into my shopping trolley. Later, as even the classic Women's Weekly began to pale, Notebook and myriad scrap booking magazines would take its place. Home decor, gardening - you could track my current interests by the titles in my bulging magazine files.

Until, one day - only a few years back - I decided to stop buying them. For both financial and environmental reasons, I turned away from the news agency and towards the library instead. When they didn't carry a subscription to a publication, I used my ability as a member to request they do so. This satisfied my need to browse and I could wile away spare moments in the library and borrow back issues to bring home.

Yet, there was a threat close by. My Google Reader began to give me my very own magazine, tailored exactly to my interests, giving me editorial and inspirational articles at the click of my mouse. The writing was on the wall, as the print publishing world began to reel from the impact of digital books and I thought I would see the demise of magazines in the not-to-distant future.

But at the eleventh hour, a saviour appeared. At first it was elitist, limited and barely made a blip on my radar. Then I got my own tablet just a few weeks ago. And discovered a new hope for magazines, growing at an amazing speed - digital magazines! OMG! International borders evaporating before my eyes, simple apps on tablet. PC and even smartphone suddenly offered the same convenience of ebooks, only for emags!! Ooh!

My tastes are for more specialist titles these days, with zero interest in the celebrity "shock" mags of the supermarket checkout, but craft, health and other lifestyle journals are very much of interest. Heaps cheaper than print versions. Subscriptions delivered automatically! Without the overwhelming piles and stacks and need to cull. A whole collection at my fingertips. No need to settle for the exhausted  titles in waiting rooms. Clickable web links in articles and advertisements!

And I thought they were at death's door!!


Andria said...

Hmmm...interesting! I am a great lover of magazines, with interests that sound in many cases similar to yours (even back to Tiger Beat!). Reading them at the library is SUCH a great alternative to all the cash I dish out for them. But this new technological version? I don't know...I love to hold magazines in my hand, tear out pages to glue down or file. It would be a BIG adjustment for me! But the access WOULD be incredible.

Yvette O'Dowd said...

Bonus though - you can print out pages and use them more than once! And for the tear factor - thrift shop magazine piles!