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My Love Of AD And Other Periodicals Is Coming To An End

April 6th, 2009

Forgive me for being somewhat off topic today, but this is something that has been bothering me for a while and I like to hear how others feel about it.

I’m a long time subscriber to Architectural Digest, but over the last few months I’ve been reexamining the last three periodicals that I subscribe to (AD, PDN and National Geographic). There are several trends in my life and the world that are motivating me to take a closer look at which periodicals I subscribe to:

  1. I spend way more time online than I ever used to. This has seriously changed my expectations for and attitude about media. I want to talk back to authors and and publishers I’m interested in some very narrow subjects.
  2. It’s making less and less sense to me to get a periodical once a month look through it casually for a few weeks or so and recycle it. This is just not an effective way to get information.
  3. I’ve become hyper-sensitive about my energy usage. I don’t want to participate in frivolous use of energy. It takes a bunch of energy to create and deliver a 160 page glossy periodical to my door.

PDN is a case where I can cancel the hard copy publication and just read the content I’m interested in online. I started out this way and I think I’ll go back to online only. The only thing that bugs me about PDNonline is that the content isn’t public so I can’t refer to it on the blog. But I can live with this.

National Geographic feels to me like it’s the one periodical on the planet that’s worth what it costs to produce. I still have every issue I’ve got in the mail. I read and reread most of the articles, read the website and watch the TV channel. I grew up with NG at my grandmothers house. She subscribed to it for 50 years and  gave her bound collection to the local library before she died. So NG is in my genes.

I have a love-hate relationship with Architectural Digest. I love looking at both the ads and the architectural and interior photography  in AD. But I’d rather just look at the photography online because I only look at the photos for a few times and recycle the issue. I hate the AD web site because the design is so bad and dysfunctional. I rag on them all the time about how to fix their design but of course, they don’t care about the website because they want to sell the printed publication. It’s like talking to a brick wall.

So at this point I’m ready to give up all printed periodicals except National Geographic. To me it’s the only one that’s worth the energy it takes to deliver the content to me. Do others feel this way or am I just getting to be a crank in my old age?

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7 Responses to “My Love Of AD And Other Periodicals Is Coming To An End”

  • I agree with you Larry, and that’s why any publication worth its salt has been putting more effort into its online presence. It is also why some newspapers are fading away. They were to stubborn and slow in embracing the technology and now they are in dire straights.

  • I agree as well. I’ve recently gone from five subscriptions down to one (also Nat Geo) and I no longer take any photo trade publications. For better or worse the Web has completely displaced my use of magazines (and newspapers.) I grew up loving magazines and hate to see their decline, but change is inevitable and the evolution of information to electronic delivery brings many benefits. I’m confidant the serious players in the magazine game will ultimately find ways to successfully migrate to the online market. But the transition will likely leave many behind, while opening new opportunities for others.

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  • Cooks Illustrated. But there’s no photos there.

    Somehow, Wired has started coming to the house, but I suspect that it was from some free Amazon offer. I haven’t even bothered to look at the dead trees version. I’d rather read the one interesting article a month online.

  • Larry,
    I’m in the same boat as you. One pet peeve about magazine subscriptions is the irritating subscription cards. I even wrote the editors of a magazine called “Fast Company”. Every month, Fast Company has some very informative articles on “greening” up your business and lifestyle. But, I have counted as many as 7 subscription cards in a single issue. I stated in my letter that the magazine should practice what it promotes. The reply I got was “subscription cards are how publishers obtain business”. Gee, that’s the same excuse GM gave when lacking in green initiatives. Fast Company is the first to say that businesses need to change the way they do business for a better environment. Anyway, I’m really considering the Amazon Kindle2. Many subscriptions are automatically downloaded to the device.

  • My reason for liking online publications is more for convenience than being green. Especially for newspapers and news publications. I still like holding a physical magazine and looking at it, but mostly if it has plenty of photos. So there is still a place for those in my opinion. After all, loggers and mill workers still need jobs too:-)

  • If you care about content, then I strongly urge you to continue to support the printed edition instead of migrating to the on-line edition. Nobody has really figured out how to monetize the on-line editions. When companies shift content to their on-line editions, they end up losing revenue. And, consequently, those companies begin to trim and reduce their writers and workers to compensate for the loss in revenue.

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