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What Lies Ahead for Magazines?

December 23, 2010

I was surprised to get the latest issue of U.S. News & World Report in the mail. It had a cover that said it was not only the latest issue, but the last. They will no longer be printed, but will available online. I've heard a number of little bits of information about the magazine industry lately. Commentators were talking about magazine publishing on a TV show a few days ago. Do you remember the days when you looked forward to getting your new issue of Better Homes and Gardens, or Life?  At one time, people bought magazines, not just for their information, but to support the causes the magazines supported and advocated. Magazines rallied public opinion, and influenced public policy. But, subscriptions pay only a little of the magazines cost. Advertising is the money maker, and advertising is down.

The assumption of the death of the magazine industry may be premature, but the internet is changing the business in many ways. Al Diguido writes in his blog, "al.zetainteractive.com", that the changes in magazine publishing were predictable. Gen X is getting more and more of their news from the internet. Do you remember when there were large newsstands in downtown Kansas City?  Union Station had a large newsstand too.  Now, it's all gone. Diguido's prediction is that more and more digital publications will take over the information business. Now the trick is to generate advertising income, the way businesses used to buy ads in newspapers and magazines. 

The library is delivering information to you via the internet in many new ways. Magazine articles are available through our online databases, and audiobooks can be downloaded from our catalog to your digital player. You can check on library programs and register for them even after library hours. News about the library is on our homepage. Have you seen the pictures of the new North Independence Branch? More and more, you can check out the library from the comfort of your computer terminal. 

Howard B.
Dearborn Branch

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