Guest Column: 9 Things I've Learned About Magazines by Blogging
2. People in the magazine industry are consistently inarticulate in their attempts to describe the qualities of the magazine format, especially in comparison to the Web. One of the strangest reasons I’ve heard magazine people suggest the medium will survive forever is this: It’s the perfect format for bathroom reading. It would be funny, if I didn’t hear it used so often. Note to magazine people: Bathroom reading material is not very high on the media food chain. While the magazines my company publishes may, on occasion, be read there, I can assure you it is not the venue for which any of them are designed.
3. No one will ever collect NationalGeographic.com. OK, here is my suggestion to those in the magazine industry who haven’t figured out how to compare magazines with the Web (see point #2). The magazines we love are not merely things we read and enjoy; they are expressions of who we are. We display them on coffee tables and desks the way people wear designer labels on clothes or purchase one model of car over another. People collect magazines, trade them and display them on decorative racks or in frames hung on the wall. Magazines provide us with mementos of our life’s journey. They allow us to savor our passions and save special moments. The magazines we love are so important to us, they make us feel guilty to consider throwing them away. The Web is a wonderful thing when you want to drink information from a fire hose. But the magazines people love are like bottles of fine wine: Even if you have to wait a little before opening it, there’s something a bit exciting about the anticipation.
4. The people who say print is dead don’t actually mean print is dead. People who write blog headlines and book titles have the need to boil down complex issues into catch phrases, so they write stuff like “Five more signs that print is dead.” However, if you actually read what people write under those “print is dead” headlines, you’ll find they’re talking about a business model and not a publishing format. Also, I’ve never heard of anyone who writes about the death of print turning down a book offer.
5. Successful magazines succeed for three reasons. They appeal to a narrowly focused audience of people who share a deep, personal or professional passion. They have content that is required reading if you want to belong to the community of individuals who share that passion. They are published by people who understand the power of aesthetics and good design.