Monday, January 18, 2010

Overpriced and Nondescript Print Media

I still subscribe, believe it or not, to three magazines. Not sure what to tell you, other than sometimes, for some kind of “news” I need the paper version. I have a desktop computer in my office and a laptop that travels with me all over the house. And of course, a laptop at work, that travels with me back and forth every day. Online is how I get most of my “news” and information, and I’ll make no excuses about it. No, I don’t have the phone plugged into the internets. I don’t think I’ll ever do that, unless it’s free, or some kind of a requirement to be fed!

But I do subscribe to magazines. Sometimes, at the end of a busy day, I want some easy reading and that’s when I grab those. When my regular book seems heavy, I turn to them. And as a perpetual habit over the years, I have been buying magazines every time I fly! That’s like my treat and my escape! I buy magazines I don’t subscribe to (evidently) to keep me company.

I usually try to buy something that will catch me up on the entertainment gossip and on the technology and politics points of view. That’s usually my niche, I guess. Historically, my go-to magazines while flying were People and Entertainment Weekly. Sometimes, if the cover looks good, Time and Newsweek would be amongst choices, too! Sometimes Rolling Stone.

This last trip, I also added Bride magazine or Weddings to my possible selection, for reasons you find evident, I am sure.

But I had the hardest time picking an issue of my “usuals” anymore. Those (Entertainment Weekly and People particularly) as well as the “bridal” ones are made of nothing, but I mean nothing, but pictures and ads! Call me picky, or old fashioned, but I did think that print media, magazines included, is the kind of media that has words to go with their photos. They are not just photo books that require your brain to shut down and you to turn the pages mechanically and be done browsing in 10 minutes: cover-to-cover.

You can say I am cheap, but $5.95 is a high price for picture viewing. Yep, that’s all you get: pictures: ads to perfumes, hotels, diamond rings and Vera Wang couture, and pictures of fat or newly slimmed down celebs or the season’s fashionable lipstick shades.

It took hopping several magazine stores in airports like Greensboro and Detroit to find ONE magazine that had words to go with their pictures …But those were not the “light” kind of books, either! I had to “settle” (hardly) for more serious prints like Time and Business Week. One had book and movie reviews I was interested in as well as health information, the other an in-depth recap of today’s job and house market (you’d think a “hip” topic, no?!) .

These are all topics I used to find easily in more “easy” reads, like People and Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone before! But those don’t offer real reading anymore: only overpriced picture viewing on printed paper. I guess the more serious news comes from magazines like Time and Newsweek that are becoming skinnier and skinnier every time I pick them up.

I am not sure which is more depressing: the page count getting frightfully low? Or the superfluous -ness of the content? I’d go with the latter. At least the first group of mags don’t insult you and themselves.

As a print media employee, I hear it all the time, that people buy papers for ads. But as a reader, I am here to tell you: people buy print media for content! And I mean news content, not picture and ad content! That is fortuitous. We don’t want to pay close to $6 an issue for pictures. We get those for relatively free all day long while browsing yahoo, and msn or while driving down I-40 in roadside billboards or getting The Clipper for free at the mailbox! Words is what we look for.

So, I am not caught up on the latest celeb gossip, and I have no clue how to plan a low budget wedding, either. I guess I am back to google, and searching for pertinent key words! And in the meantime, some print media lost a reader.

I had a pretty heavy reading flight back and forth to Michigan! But at least, no regrets for wasting money! I would say: if you bother that much to print, folks, just make sure you’re saying something!

1 comment:

Jerry Pat Bolton said...

Hah! I got rid of my newspapers, my magazine subscriptions, AND my cable television. I get everything via the Internet. I am not sorry. If I want to read or see something that is slanted toward a particular philosophy, or politics, I want it slanted the way I think.