Saving magazines

Stephen Baker

Let's just assume that you have a bunch of magazine subscriptions and have fallen behind in your reading. On recycling day (ie. today), your spouse comes up to you with a huge basket and says: Which ones do we get rid of?

Well, I certainly want to read The Atlantic on The Menace of North Korea. I want Sports Illustrated on Pat Tillman's Road from 9/11 to Afghanistan. Someone just yesterday recommended reading Harpers on The Way Out of The War (blog post). There's George Packer's article in The New Yorker on a Moderate Martyr in Sudan. Those Outside and Bicycling magazines cost $4.95 on the news stands. Am I just going to toss them? My kid has combed through those fat Wireds, but I haven't gotten to them yet.

The big question, which advertisers are wondering about, is whether we're too busy reading and watching other things to curl up with magazines the way we used to. I'm spending much more time reading the newspaper, books, and of course, this illuminated screen that I'm staring at right now. (That's how I'm reading BW, now that I'm not picking up my copy at the office every Thursday afternoon.) Mark Twain once defined a classic as a book everyone wants to have read, but no one wants to read. Is that true of magazines today?

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