The Dying Magazine Blues

Are Magazines Doomed?

Roz Warren
Nov 24, 2020 · 4 min read
Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Les Anderson on Unsplash

I love magazines, which is why I am sad that they’re doomed. How do I know they’re doomed?

I’ve read about it, of course. In magazines.

Not only that, but for years I processed the incoming periodicals at the library where I work, which means I could actually see them dwindling before my eyes. What once were fat monthly issues became alarmingly thin. Monthlies increasingly resorted to publishing double issues. , always my favorite weekly, now comes out every other week.

And once-loved titles are folding like crazy. All gone.

Growing up in the ’60s, who could have imagined a world without magazines? No ? No Unthinkable! Magazines helped teach us to read. And explained the world to us. The Kennedy assassination? The first moon walk? We watched them on TV. But magazines helped us understand.

My first subscription meant that finally, I was a real reader.

How on earth could I have filled my “Man From Uncle” scrapbook without ?

And who can forget being old enough to subscribe to ? Now there was a milestone!

Growing up, I read my mother’s copies of , and and relished “Can this marriage be saved?” before I had any real idea of what a marriage actually was. And I snuck peaks at Dad’s copies of , especially their annual “Dubious Achievement Awards,” issue, even though the contents, went, for the most part, right over my head.

As a teen, when I began to babysit? The first thing I did after the little darlings fell asleep was locate the hidden (usually in the bedside table, the closet, or the bathroom) and marvel at those amazing “girls next door.”

I looked forward to having my very own and subscriptions when I grew up.

Some periodicals still manage to thrive. The last issue of was so big I could barely lift it, as fat with ads as the models within were skinny. (And so pungent with perfume ads you could smell it across the room.)

will endure. We’ll never grow tired of celebrity gossip. is still going strong. And will undoubtedly be around as long as women dream of finding both Mr. Right and a fabulous gown to marry him in.

But ? ? Gone.

I’m doing what I can to keep the magazine industry afloat. I subscribe to dozens. . . . . . .

Others, I read at the library.

I may be a librarian and an intellectual, but for years I even subscribed to . I blamed Avi and Winifred, my doves. “It’s pages are exactly the right size to line the birdcage!” I told my friends. Although the truth was that I loved my weekly fix of odd stories, health-related tips and juicy celebrity gossip.

Admittedly, I’m, by nature, rather retro. I’d rather walk than drive. I’d rather read a book than download it. I’d rather talk than text. I’m a dinosaur, a remnant of the world I grew up in, where what you read on a page had more cultural heft than what you watched on a screen.

Sure, I spend hours reading online, just like you do. I’m addicted to Medium. I love the immediacy of it, and all the terrific writing, and the variety of voices that are available to me here.

But at the end of the day? I still want to turn pages.

I’m a writer. Two years ago, I finally made it into the pages of magazine. After which? The magazine folded.

In my heart I know this wasn’t cause and effect. I didn’t really kill Money magazine.

But? It kind of felt like it.

has run several of my humor pieces. I have a new one I’ve been thinking of sending them.

Maybe I’d better hold off.

It’s a Hardback Life

Essays & Humor about Life, Love and the Library by Roz Warren

Sign up for It's a Hardback Life -- the Newsletter!

By It’s a Hardback Life

Blather, Gibberish & Malarkey by Roz Warren  Take a look

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Roz Warren

Written by

Writing Coach/Medium Sherpa Roz Warren( ( writes for everyone from the New York Times to the Funny Times.

It’s a Hardback Life

Blather, Gibberish & Malarkey by Roz Warren

Roz Warren

Written by

Writing Coach/Medium Sherpa Roz Warren( ( writes for everyone from the New York Times to the Funny Times.

It’s a Hardback Life

Blather, Gibberish & Malarkey by Roz Warren

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store