Sunday, 16 February 2014

The deterioration of the printed word: What's happening to the good old magazine?

 


There is something undoubtedly satisfying about physically paging through a magazine that a digital publication simply can't match.  Holding a magazine; complete with dog-eared pages as a result of being flung about far too much in my bag, the folded corners reminding me of an article I loved, and the same familiar smell, all too soon whisk me back to my childhood when Girl Talk was the best part of my month. It was the magazine that consistently, and unbeknown to my Mum's knowledge, magically appeared to slip into the shopping basket by an unknown 'force in the sky'. It's true. Those rather clich├ęd 'OMG he looked at me for the first time and I spilt orange juice on my favourite skirt!!! MEGA CRINGE!!!!' lines truly made it for me. 

It's more intimate than reading an online publication. Nevertheless, the glossy printed pages of Magazines are now to be found within the many folds of the internet. With the imminent growth of the internet, in particular social media, the internet has become the destination and home of many a traditionally printed magazine. Media is undeniably taking to the internet with force. The internet provides users a one-of-a-kind, interactive experience. Magazine readers won't have to deal with the blurred text and soggy pages of a magazine after a water bottle spill in their bag. They won't have to make an assumption based on images; videos and voice overs create an ultimately new, exciting prospect. It's just so convenient. That is, both for the staff over at VOGUE and the eager new generation of magazine reader's. On both sides of the pond, online publications are a greater deal less of a pinch to the pocket. Without a need for printing, binding and distributing, the manufacturing costs of our beloved magazines are almost down to nil. Nothing. Whilst this is bad news for the local corner shops and doctor's surgeries, who rely heavily on an influx of magazines every month of so, everybody else is hugely benefited from a cheaper publication. Why would you willingly hand over £3.00 or so to the lovely shop keeper at your local newsagents, when you can find exactly the same content in matter of seconds online, for free? In addition to this, online content is real time. For gossip magazines, who are constantly at war with one another to provide the latest so called truthful story on the celebrity of the moment, it's an ingenious revelation. Rather than tapping their (undoubtedly perfectly manicured) fingers away at the desk whilst waiting for publication time each week, the content can be uploaded online within a matter of seconds of the article being finished. 

But that's the thing. Are these publications trying a little too hard to keep up with the fresh, innovative and exciting influx of new media? Its hard to tell. Should they spring back to their little glossy-paged bubble of contentment, with simply a regular issue released monthly? It's becoming all to apparent that the focus of some magazines is becoming solely based on being 'down with the kids'. Let's take Company magazine for example. Now, I adore this magazine. Not only do the creative yet pretty spines take pride of place upon my desk, but the design is fresh and coherent with today's means. The magazine covers a wide range of topics aimed at fulfilling our, being the younger generation of women, eager needs for monthly trend reports, interviews with the so called 'it' celebrity and pages and pages worth of decadent reading. The mag is the ultimate handbag size, measuring a handy 23 by 27 cm (Yes, I did get my ruler out). The compactness of it all means that it fits snugly inside of your hand, making it ideal for the Monday morning jolly to work on the tube. However, in recent months, Company have gone social. They've chased after the internet storm, and after hopping on the bandwagon at last (although most likely out of breath), they launched multiple web apps and online publications. At the click of a button, the app store provides you with a full issue of company for £1.99, compared to its counterpart shelf-price of £2.50. It's instant, its interactive, and its innovative. There's no more of this last minute hopping-in-the-car-in-your-onesie-hoping-you-don't-bump-into-anyone-you-know-malarkey in order to pick it up a day before that month's issue is taken off the shelves. But that's not all. Company have latched on to the increasing wishes of younger generations for online media and have released the 'Company Weekly edit'. This is the baby of the magazine. As quoted from the app store, "Company weekly edit, from the Company Magazine team, is entirely new content designed specifically to be consumed on a phone. It is not available anywhere in print format.". Surely this is a little unfair? For those readers minus a smart phone, they are discluded from what could, in prospect, be their own kind of bible. Whilst the internet opens a door to a whole new audience, in doing so, it limits some hard earned, printed-only-fanatics. These magazines simply need to find a balance. 


Having a physical copy of a magazine is just that much better. Forget convenience. Nothing screams a bit of decadency like absent-mindedly flicking through glossy-paged a magazine in the bath. (Doing the same of your phone is just too risky, and this way you're prevented from those embarrassing leg shots filling up our Instagram feeds...). But there are so many perks that a digital copy will never provide.You will never be able to inhale the musty smell of a magazine that's been sitting in the attic for 20 years, which once belonged to your Mum; you'll never be able to feel the creases and folded up corners of generations gone by or cut it into little pieces for a scrapbook page. That's not forgetting never being able to draw moustache's and glasses on the abundance of faces printed on the pages. A printed magazine will always be a reference; a handy information source, bursting with pages and pages of inspiration.


It's sure to be said that the digital era is set in stone to overrule any traditional formats that have encompassed our daily lives up to now. But the real question is; what's your take on the imminent digital-overrule? 


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13 comments :

  1. I can't agree with you more nothing better then reading a a magazine or an actually book!

    Courtney x

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    1. It's true-nothing is quite the same as having a physical copy!

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  2. I love the internet for reading blogs and websites but nothing is better than turning a page of a magazine or leaf of a book. Sometimes its nice to just flick through looking at the pictures.

    Carrieanne x

    beautiesunlocked.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. I agree. Blogs are the perfect online equivalent of a magazine, but sometimes I think these mags are trying to hard to keep up with the times!

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  3. I hate reading magazines online. I have a kindle and read plenty of books through that, with with magazines it really is completely different. I've tried to read online magazines and just gave up before I'd finished... I still buy magazines! For me, the internet is great for blog reading and that sort of writing. I rarely look up magazine articles online.

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  4. I dread the day I give up a real copy of a book for an e-reader. Saying that it's rare that I read magazines - or at least the fancy fashion/beauty ones, we read National Geographic and the beauty of the photographs can't compare to those on the screen when you have them right in front of you.

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  5. Magazines are just the part of my weekend morning routine! Nothing beats an oversized shirt, a messy top knot, coffee/tea and the latest issue of my favourite magazine!

    Merrie from Life As Merrie

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  6. I love reading printed magazines, you're right, there's nothing like having a good magazine to read in the bath! I've never got in to reading magazines online though, it just doesn't make sense to me, I like having the physical thing :) Loved this post!

    Nicola xx

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  7. I really really enjoyed reading this post and find it so relevant - we've debated this issue in several lectures. I agree with you, there is something about having a physical magazine infront of you that just can't be beaten. I think you hit the nail on the head by saying it is a 'reference'. I totally agree, just yesterday I flicked through 2 years worth of company issues to fill the pages of my sketchbook project. I think company have done a good job of integrating both online and print but due to apparent falling sales it's sad to say they will probably end up completely digital within the next few years. Although I think this will take longer for the likes of Vogue, who are seen as collectables by a wider market.

    tie-dye-eyes

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  8. I love your blog, your posts are so relevant

    http://roseandvintage.blogspot.com/

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  9. Great post, I agree, there's nothing like a real magazine. Reading in the bath and flicking through here and there just feels better when there's paper involved. A digital version suits me more for sitting down and reading for an hour, and I have a kindle for that.

    Jenn | PhotoJennic

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  10. Its not very often I stumble upon such a detailed, well written post like this. First off well done! I really enjoyed reading this. You're voice as a writer is really unique and strong. For me, the internet is great to read blogs, which are, in a sense, personal magazines (at least that's what I think of my own as). I do agree with you though that there's nothing better than sitting on a train leafing through physical pages. Its the same with books- I've tried and failed to read a book digitally- I just can't stop squinting.

    I love your collection of Company mags- I've never actually bought it but I think I'll pick it up at one point. I'm a Glamour reader myself- or sometimes Cosmo. Thank you for your link on #bbloggers - I'm now following on GFC and bloglovin.

    Julianne
    julzobsessions.blogspot.co.uk/
    xx

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  11. I totally agree with you! I'm a hard copy gal, through and through! I've sworn to myself I'll never own a Kindle - as convenient as they might be, nothing's quite as good as the physical thing. Plus, I love the smell of new books, it's not the same as smelling a screen, is it?! :) xx

    Sarah | Squares - Bookworm and Beauty Enthusiast

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Thanks for commenting, I'll get back to you as soon as possible!