This House Loves Print

Our household just welcomed our another magazine subscription, National Geographic.

To say that I love magazines is an understatement. Ever since I asked my mom to write a check for my Sassy and Seventeen subsciption, I’ve been hooked. My dad got me The New Yorker when I was in high school, and while I didn’t understand much of what was written, I knew that it was all part of the affair. I am lucky that my current job subscribes to truck loads of magazines, so each month I also get to devour another six to ten publications.

I have a ritual for reading magazines: always three times and I always start from the back. It’s part of the weight and feel of the paper in my hands. The first reading is the glance-through. The second reading is to read the articles I want and tag pages I want to re-visit, and the third reading involves reading the entire magazine. I generally do this with my laptop on hand, so I can visit websites I’ve marked as interesting.

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I’ve flirted with many subsciptions over the years. I was a die-hard Bitch subsciber for ten years, but even I, who holds a master’s degree in Women’s Studies could no longer take another “post-modern” and “deconstructed” review of gender. With sadness, I let that subscription lapse. We received Vanity Fair for a few years, but I was often disgusted with the covers and ripped them off just so I could stomach picking the magazine up.

There are a few subscriptions C and I tease  one another about. I call his New York Review of Books a “snot rag,” for its pretentious content and he gripes about Cookie and O Magazine. We both love Dwell and ReadyMade, but laugh at how obvious it is that we subscribe to them. I daydream with Budget Travel, try to memorize parenting tactics in Parents and happily clip recipes from Cooking Light at Bon Appetit.

Our magazines always find new homes. While we live in a house full of books and papers, I dislike clutter, and do my best to get items out the door. I have friends who eagerly take our magazines, even if I’ve ripped out an article or ear-marked a few pages.

I don’t have anything new to add to the conversation about how print is dying. To some degree, there is a recalibration of supply and demand. Does every city need two or three or five publications touting why it’s the best place to live? Does every masthead need a home decor magazine? Do men really read as many “men’s” magazines as exist? There are structural flaws in a system that was created pre-Web and it has been slow to change, but in a profession where my value is measured, to a degree, in square inches, and in my personal life where I love opening the mailbox and seeing which magazine came to greet me, I hope the industry finds a new path.

Me? I’m going to see what the mail carrier delivered today.

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