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.
At 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.