Trending Downwards

Sometime last month it dawned on me that in 2008 nearly everything I wrote was published exclusively online. The pieces appearing in newspapers, magazines, or books could be counted on the fingers of one hand, probably.

This came as a surprise. The general trend had been underway for a while -- per the first entry here more than two years ago -- but this marked a big acceleration of it. Economics has been a factor, to some degree; the online venues paid better than the dead-tree ones. Even so, it was not deliberate, and I expect to reverse the tendency as much as possible in '09.

Then again, the results of the latest ABC audit (via Jeff Bercovici) make you wonder how well newsstands will do over the rest of the year:
25 top mags circ 2nd half 08.jpg

Just to be clear, I'm not concerned with the well-being of any publication here, as such. Writing for this kind of big, slick, advertising-driven magazine is not a personal priority; doing so is not pleasant or satisfying, to judge from my experience.

But their sales help keep afloat the bookstores and newsstands carrying small publications that do matter to me, both as venues and as brain-food. Thanks in part to Reader's Digest, it is sometimes possible to buy New Left Review. When RD's retail sales drop by twelve percent, the effect is bound to be (in a manner of speaking) ecological.

So the falling numbers are worrying. Likewise, the end of the print edition of Book World after this coming weekend is a bad thing -- no matter how many spiteful nullities elect to giggle over it. No doubt they assume that the felling of a monument will give them their place in the sun; after all, they won't be in its shadow any more. The spirit of resentment usually banks on some such hope. But things don't really work that way.
February 9, 2009 12:31 PM | | Comments (2)



What about city magazines? how did they do?

I don't know (the ABC report is proprietary and I don't have access) but would be surprised if city magazines were an exception to the trend. Declining magazine sales are part of the general tendency towards lower consumer spending, which seems to be across the board.

Leave a comment

Recent Work

Fidel Castro: My Life 
A review from Newsday
40 Years of "The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual" 
Marking the anniversary of Harold Cruse's great book
Style and Grace 
A review of a book by the late, great Grace Paley from ... sheesh, almost ten years ago.
Oh, Canada 
National identity -- going south?
The LaRouche Tabernacle Choir 
An interview with me about the LaRouche movement, on Pacifica radio in Los Angeles
Open Library 
An interview with Aaron Swartz, one of the developers....
Sailing From Ithaka 
The new report calling for a digital platform for scholarly publishing deserves a wide audience


Battle of the Titans 
Dinesh D'Souza and Alan Wolfe debating? Imagine a slime mold in conflict with a patch of mildew. It's just that inspiring.
To the Tehran Station 
Not about Edmund Wilson
more picks


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Quick Study published on February 9, 2009 12:31 PM.

And the Lord Did Grin was the previous entry in this blog.

Bound to Be Remembered as "Lickspittle," Come What May is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

AJ Ads

AJ Blogs

AJBlogCentral | rss

About Last Night
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Artful Manager
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
blog riley
rock culture approximately
critical difference
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dog Days
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
Life's a Pitch
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
Mind the Gap
No genre is the new genre
Performance Monkey
David Jays on theatre and dance
Plain English
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Real Clear Arts
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
Rockwell Matters
John Rockwell on the arts
Straight Up |
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude

Foot in Mouth
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Seeing Things
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...

Jazz Beyond Jazz
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...

Out There
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Serious Popcorn
Martha Bayles on Film...

classical music
Creative Destruction
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
The Future of Classical Music?
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
On the Record
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Slipped Disc
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds

Jerome Weeks on Books
Quick Study
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera

Drama Queen
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
lies like truth
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world

Aesthetic Grounds
Public Art, Public Space
Another Bouncing Ball
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Modern Art Notes
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.