Magazines moving to digital

Magazines aren’t quite dead, but they’re in trouble.

While places like MagNation in Elizabeth Street are often busy, that might hide the fact that it replaced at least two older specialised magazine retailers (Technical Book Shop and McGills) that were in the CBD previously.

MagazinesAt Southland, the newsagency that had been there for decades has recently shut. From what I can gather, there’s now no dedicated newsagent in the centre.

Circulation figures show some publications continue to drop. For instance, comparing 2008 figures to 2012, my old favourite Australian Personal Computer fell from 37,156 to 21,612. In that time, Women’s Weekly fell from 530,143 to 465,477 — still a huge number, but undeniably dropping. Gardening Australia fell from 99,058 to 71,955.

There is a partial revival however, through better distribution channels (some specialised mags are available via air into newsagents and retailers like MagNation), and interestingly: digital.

Zinio is an digital magazine delivery company which seems to have a pretty good range (apparently around 5000 titles in all), including technology, lifestyle, sports, and whatever category things like National Geographic fall into.

Their magazines are readable on iPad, Android, Mac OSX and Windows, plus via any web browser with Flash.

What’s the pricing like? For some it’s much cheaper than buying paper — for instance the UK magazine Retro Gamer, which I’m quite fond of, via Zinio is A$51.10 for 13 issues (compared to 80 pounds/about A$130 subscribing to paper from the publisher), or you can buy just the latest for A$5.43 (compared to $14.95 for a paper copy in the shops, arriving several months after publication). For others it’s similar to the retail price.

Given many people will read a magazine once, then either chuck it out or keep it in the bookshelf for 5 years and then chuck it out, that’s pretty good value.

The other thing they have is called a Z-Pass, where for $5 a month you can read any 3 magazines, and swap between titles each month. That particular deal is US-only at the moment, but is apparently spreading to other countries soon.

I guess it shows that the important thing is the content, not whether it’s on paper or digital.

Zinio got in touch with me recently offering ten free subscriptions to readers, with the option of keeping one for myself.

So, I’m going to keep one for myself! Which means I’ve got nine to give away.

To win, leave a comment with your real email address (which is not visible to anybody but me) on the following topic: what’s your most favourite magazine of all time, and why? Is it still around? Do you still read it?

I’ll pick winners from what I think are the most interesting answers received in the next 7 days. Just try to keep it clean, okay?

[In case it's not obvious: I'm getting a Zinio subscription out of this, so this constitutes a paid blog post.]

Update 26/7/2013 — You can keep the comments coming, but the competition is now closed.

Sunday Life

Sometime last year one of the magazines that came with The Sunday Age, Sunday Life, changed its formula. I used to find at least something interesting while flicking through it. Since the change, nothing.

I was thinking that it had turned into a women’s magazine. One only has to look at the author names of letters they’ve published over the last four weeks to know it’s almost entirely women who are reading:

Sunday Life letters, last four weeks

(The unisex names were Hilary — almost certainly female I suspect — and Sam.)

But here’s what clinched it: I found the blurb to prospective advertisers:

Sunday Life is a magazine which delivers our readers a distinctive point of difference on Sunday and a fresh approach to a discerning female audience not found in any other newspaper inserted magazine.

and:

Sunday Life knows what women care about.

So… any of you blokes out there — don’t feel guilty for not even glancing at this mag anymore.

Some silly things

A fire in Springvale, to which the CFA responds. C’mon, Springvale. What is this, 1960? East of Westall Road isn’t paddocks anymore. Surely it’s time to re-draw the MFB/CFA boundaries?

The metro/country taxi boundaries are similar, aren’t they? Time for an update.

Odd. I found a quarterly magazine that retails for $7, but is $44 per year by subscription?!

What’s with those fake Tintin t-shirts? “Tintin in Vietnam”? They’re not even taking the mickey out of the characters, they’re just making stuff up. Why?

Finally… if you get the opportunity to speak to the world, don’t waste it. Use your canvas wisely. Aim to impart great knowledge. Communicate your ideas to make society better. Say something meaningful.
The intellectuals have been busy

Print’s not dead yet

If you’ve wondered how many people read the magazines you see in the newsagent, here’s the figures.

The only magazine I subscribe to, Australian Personal Computer, is sitting at 34,111, down 8% in the last year. Perhaps IT-related mags are more likely to be dropping with competition from online, though what caught my eye was that the one that’s lost the second highest percentage of readers in the past year, the AFL Record, down 25%.

When I was a kid you bought the Record every time you went to the footy. Do people not buy it anymore? Maybe kids don’t try and fill in the stats themselves these days.

Some magazines are gaining readers, which I guess shows that print is not quite dead yet.

And if you were wondering how Woman’s Day and Woman’s Weekly can afford to put all those annoying adverts on the telly, wonder no more — they’ve got the highest readership figures of anything in the list.

And can you believe that 302,000 people read That’s Life?!?