Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The End of an Era

Way back in 2005, I was on nytimes.com reading the news (this was eons before they limited your article-viewing to a few a day [unless you want to fork over $x per year for a subscription]).  As I was enjoying my time on the site, a pop-up ad hit my screen offering a subscription to the New Yorker for $19 per year!

(I'm not trying to insult your intelligence - but if you don't know what the NYer is, it's a weekly literary & current events magazine.  It features a weekly review of news items [written sort of wry and liberal], a couple Malcolm Gladwell-esque articles, a fiction short story by renowned or unknown authors, book reviews, movie reviews, NY theatre reviews, and lots of witty cartoons scattered throughout.)

Even if you've never picked up a copy, you can probably surmise that $19/year is insane.  $19 is about what you pay for a monthly magazine subscription (even for bad magazines); but $19 for a weekly journal that features a ton of stuff written by famous authors and commentators is c-h-e-a-p.

So I bought it.

And in the six years since I first signed up, I've had an on again/off again relationship with it.  It's pretty clear that you won't read every. single. article. in most issues.  You can try.  But we're talking about some looooong articles.  And, for me at least, as much as I want to broaden my horizons, reading thousands of words about, say, How the Fighting in Tripoli Mimics Ancient Mating Rituals of the Galapagos Turtle, just can't hold my attention for an hour.  (Note that I made up that title, which actually sounds sort of interesting.  Maybe I should look into that...)

Anyway - it's an on again/off again relationship.  Some weeks I have tons of extra time and read many of the articles.  Some weeks, I just read the movie reviews.  Some weeks SHAME!, the inside pages don't see the light of day.  It totally depends on my time and my interest in the articles.

As usually happens with subscriptions, over our six years together, the price has slowly crept up.  And as you can imagine, given the state of news-oriented print media, the past couple years have seen dramatic increases.  When I got my renewal for this year, it was going to be $89.99 for the year.

Do I believe the NYer is worth almost $100/year?  Absolutely.  It's probably worth more, to be fair.  But given my hit or miss relationship with it, I decided $100 was probably slightly out of my comfort zone (especially since the subscription started at $20, you know?).

So after a simple call to Conde Nast, I will say goodbye to my weekly friend.  I know the subscription will end sometime in August, but I don't know the exact date.  I've been trying really hard to read these final issues as they come in, which has been fun, but also (sadly!) confirms that I probably made a good financial decision.

Jonathan gets about 10 magazines each month, so I might read some of his if I'm really itching for some magazine time.


Jonathan said...

I do love a good magazine. A couple of mine (Esquire, Men's Journal), focus on style, food and alcohol in a macro sense, a page on sex and health, some nutrition, etc.... It's been awhile since I've read Cosmo, but do any of the women's magazines cover a broad range of things like these? It is nice to have a monthly mag that will tell me what to wear, what the best bar is in Detroit, how to make a cocktail with only rum, schnapps and peppercorns, how to survive a snake bite in the wilderness, what the best steak house is in Tampa (a lot of girls like meat, right?), what is wrong with the economy, politics, hollywood, the Middle East, which is the best point and shoot camera, how to properly stock a bar, match shoes and socks and kiss on a first date (note - not on the forehead). Is there no such thing in the female market?

Claire said...

(To Jonathan's comment up top) You're not likely to find all of this in one women's print magazine (because we obvs don't care for news or politics or gadgets). I'd say closest would be Vanity Fair? (though men read that, too) or blogs, though even those seem siloed.