#magazines

David Carr on a resurgence in printed media:

Publishers who turned out under-designed and under-edited books and magazines in the Internet age have learned the hard way that consumers expect excellence in print. Just as McSweeney’s grand experimental newspaper Panorama suggested in 2009, and as big, beautiful magazines like Vogue prove every month, print is not dead, it simply has some very specific attributes that need to be leveraged. Good printed work includes a mix of elements in which juxtaposition and tempo tell their own story, the kind of story best told with ink and paper.

I largely agree with this. Rather than simply thinking that material published on the web and material published on a page are the same thing, it’s better if both sides play to the strengths of their respective mediums. Wallpaper* magazine is another that strikes me as doing this well.

And, of course, there’s always books as art.

From Matthew Panzarino’s story on the launch:

Offline differs from many other magazines on iOS in a couple of very important ways. First of all, it offers both text versions of stories and professionally produced audio that you can listen to at any point in an article. And it also boasts a unique cost structure that the team hopes will allow it to pay 2-3x what normal freelance writers see for contributions.

The audio integration is brilliant. I actually already listen to a lot of content on my iPhone/iPad but do it using a sort of hack: the speak selection accessibility feature — but that’s essentially Siri reading to you, this is professional voice actors. 

And, of course, I support any publication trying to find new ways to pay writers well.

Harry McCracken (who worked at PC World from 1994-2008) gives the appropriate eulogy:

The news isn’t shocking. In fact, it’s sort of a shock it didn’t happen several years ago. After slightly more than thirty years in print, PCWorld magazine is ceasing publication, effective with the current issue, to focus on its website and digital editions.

If I have to explain why, you haven’t been paying attention to the media business for the past decade or so. The web has been awfully hard on magazines, and no category has suffered more than computer publications. Both readers and advertisers have largely moved online. Many of them did so years ago — especially the sort of tech-savvy people who once read PC magazines. At the end, PCWorld was about a quarter the size it once was in terms of pages and had lost two-thirds of its readership. I don’t even want to think about what had happened to its profits.

I remember PC World fondly as well. I recall going to bookstores (remember those?) and hoping that a new issue would be on the shelves. I could stand there for hours.

Following in Marco Arment’s footsteps, Jim Dalrymple has released a bi-monthly magazine on Apple’s Newsstand. 

I really like the movement towards self-publishing of original content that is paid for by the readers (The Loop Magazine is $1.99 per month). And I love the move away from the bloated 700 MB magazine downloads that big publishers puke up once a month.

Here’s more in Dalrymple’s own words.

On the eve of its 20th anniversary, a fascinating look back at the founding of Wired magazine by Ted Greenwald of AdWeek.

One anecdote from co-founder Louis Rossetto:

Rossetto: So I called John and said we should get together and talk. Why don’t we meet up at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco?

John Plunkett (creative director): Up to that point, I was skeptical that we were ever going to make a magazine. When we went to Macworld, it went from theoretical to tangible.

That was Macworld 1991. The magazine would launch at Macworld 1993.

This represents an opportunity for the magazine business to become more leveraged toward consumer revenue and a little less dependent on advertising.

David Carey, the president of Hearst Magazines, talking to WSJ about their success (and challenges) in magazines going fully digital.

It’s pretty interesting that the move to tablets has allowed the magazine publishers to actually raise prices — and customers aren’t revolting. It’s still a fraction of the overall numbers, but it’s a good sign for those publishers because newsflash: the ad revenue isn’t coming back.

Now if only they could make their magazine apps not suck donkey balls