Friday, September 21, 2007

Print Out

Why subscribe to magazines anymore? When I want to read about what is going on in the world I read it on the web. Unfortunately for me, I still have subscriptions to eight print magazines, including Out, The Advocate, Instinct, and Genre. I try to make sure I read them since I paid for them, but I still have a large stack of unread magazines from this year (or maybe from last year too, I don't know).

I see most print magazines becoming obsolete. The information they provide is available on the internet quicker and more usable and generally for free. You can get all the news, columns, photos, and yes, ads, that you could ever want. It's also more convenient on the net. When I see things in magazines I want to save, I rip out pages, but I just add them to the magazine stack so I will probably never see them again. I also rip out scraps that have something on them that I want to look up online. In a world of bookmarks and cut-and-paste, this action seems very inefficient and anachronistic.

They say that a computer screen can't replace a book, because it can't replace the enjoyment of curling up with a good one. That's true, but a magazine is not a book. I don't curl up with AAA Hoosier Motor Club's Home & Away magazine and I don't think I'd enjoy it anyway. I'm not a green person, but I think I would enjoy more not to pollute the landfills with more reams of bleached, glossy paper.

The evolution is going to need to be a migration to online versions only. Planet Out's magazines aren't doing so well but maybe they would do better if they jettisoned the hard copy. Genre should be hurting a little too as they indicate that the magazine is printed in Canada and the current exchange rate doesn't make that such a deal anymore. (It also kills my Fall travel plans, but that's another story). There must be money to be made with online periodicals or the New York Times wouldn't have decided to end their paid online subscription service in favor of a free, advertisement supported site.

To slow down the growth of my magazine stack I need not to renew at least one of my subscriptions. Unfortunately for you, Genre Media LLC, I think yours is the one to go. From an economical point of view, Genre has seemed to offer the least value. This is not a critique of quality, just the value for the money. The kind of material that the magazine includes is similar to what you get from a well chosen set of 3 or 4 RSS feeds.

The least value has been for whatever part of my subscription cost has paid for the "Genre Man" section in the back. The inane comments from the chosen few are far less interesting that a sampling from Craigslist's "casual encounters" (e.g. "m4m - 26, Want me to suck you off tonight? I'm 26, 6'1" 170lbs. I suck and I swallow. I might even let you f*** me. I prefer big c***s that shoot thick loads." Isn't that more informative than "What brands of clothing do you like to wear?")

There will still need to be some magazines in print. One is the required reading Vanity Fair. It's the perfect companion for air travel. It will get you through two legs and a long layover easy (and then some). The other is the ubiquitous two month old People magazines that clutter doctors' offices. There is nothing like reliving the catastrophes of celebrities as if they just happened again. Actually, with Britney, etc., there is a good chance they did just happen again.