My name is Beth, and… I’m a magazine addict. I’ve been one for quite some time, and I plan to be one until the day I die. Because I hope print magazines live forever, and I think they will.
My love for magazine subscriptions began with Highlights. Remember the children’s mag? It was the first to come right to my door, addressed to me. It was special. Then as a tween I moved on to YM, Seventeen and, most importantly, Sassy. Oh, Sassy, thank you. I’m sure you played a big hand in making me who I am. Sassy felt real. You knew the writers, you connected with them. They weren’t just cosmetics and fashion pushers.
Then as a teen I moved on to somewhat more mature content. Mademoiselle, Glamour, Cosmo, Allure. I can picture coming home from school and seeing a new mag on the floor, under the mail slot in the door. Checking out the cover (this was pre-social-media era, when you didn’t see the current issue promoted before it came to you), quickly flipping through the fresh, un-crinkled pages, the smell of the perfume strips. I chase that feeling. (I said it: addict.)
In college my tastes changed. Suddenly my magazines were guilty pleasures. I felt bad about buying them, like they were bad for my soul. I began to see them as product pushers, whose purpose is to get women to be materialistic, always want more, and buy, buy, buy.
I mean… I still do feel that way. In the end, that’s why they exist. I get that. But they can be so much more. I love the beauty of a magazine, and the feel. I love opening a fresh one and taking my time with it. I love looking at gorgeous clothes and little swatches of crumbled and smeared makeup (that’s one of my favorite aspects of women’s magazines!!) and beautiful models.
So when I had a job for a couple of years where I flew roundtrip a few times a month every month, I gathered lots of frequent flyer miles, and one of the things you could get with your miles was magazine subscriptions. HELLO. Come to me. I subscribed to all the magazines. I’m not joking either. I subscribed to Rolling Stone, The Week, The Atlantic, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, Time, Wired, Inc, Fast Company, Domino, Veranda, and all of the usual women’s mag suspects. The one that I’m so glad I got turned on to during this phase was New York. That’s a gem. Oh, I just remembered another: Cat Fancy. Yes, I even subscribed to Cat Fancy. My mailman must’ve thought I had a problem. Maybe I did?
I’m still a magazine subscriber. New York’s my favorite (though it went from once a week to twice a month so I get half as many mailbox surprises as before unfortunately). I get some of the mainstream women’s mags — Harper’s Bazaar is a favorite, Elle, Vogue and Marie Claire — and Bon Appetit, Fast Company. And I’m loving the new quality magazines like Kinfolk, Cereal and The Great Discontent. They’re beautifully minimal, on gorgeous paper, and are centered around the good things in life, not product pushing.
There’s the march towards magazines becoming digital, but I’m a firm believer in the power of print. For some, digital will be the way to go, but can we really let go of the feeling when you open your mailbox and there’s a new, shiny issue waiting for you? And when I’m on the beach this summer, kicking back in the sand with a cool drink, you better believe I’ll have a print copy of a magazine in my hands. Long live print.
The image above is a scan from the December 2000 “Gold Issue” of Vogue UK with Kate Moss on the cover that I picked up while in London and have saved all these years. Gold foil is hot right now, but fifteen years ago this cover really stood out and was quite special. I’m glad I held onto it. Wouldn’t be the same if it was an iPad version, right? Print lasts.