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)

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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.

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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.

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