As soon as they arrived, I’d read them voraciously within a few days. Afterwards, I was bummed because I'd need to wait another month for the next one. If I was going on vacation, I’d stockpile them and wouldn't let myself read them until we drove out of the driveway.
Over the years, I’ve subscribed to several horse magazines. I kept them, catalogued them, and put them in binders. I’d refer to them when I needed to go back and find a particular article or series on horse care or riding. I had the first issue of Equus, several years of Dressage and CT, and the complete set of Dressage Today.
Yes, I loved magazines, not just horse magazine, but I subscribed to Better Homes & Gardens, Home Magazine, Home and Garden, and Sunset.
Even more incredible, I actually read them.
Over the past few years, I noticed a change in my reading habits. I bought a Nook, a Kindle Fire, and an iPod. Shortly after purchasing my first Nook three years ago, I quit buying paperback books. But I still had my magazines.
Last fall I started cleaning out the attic and the upstairs bedrooms. Those years of magazines went out the door, given to a friend to read. After which she’d pass them on to the local 4-H group.
This past year when my subscriptions to three different horse magazines came up for renewal, I thought long and hard. Several months of these magazines sat around the house, unopened and unread. Even though each magazine company offered a better and better deal as the day loomed closer, for once I resisted. I let my subscriptions lapse on those three magazines for the first time in more than a decade. In fact, one of the magazine companies actually called me trying to convince to continue my subscription, which I declined.
Calling subscribers? That’d never happened to me before.
It had me wondering how desperate for subscribers magazine publishers are becoming. Are we at the end of an era, not just for paperback books but also for magazines? How do I feel about that?
I can’t imagine a world without either, yet I rarely buy reading material in paper form. The only current magazine subscription I have is Sunset Magazine.
Over the years, I’ve watched magazines fold. The ones which survived have gotten smaller and smaller. The articles seem to scrape the surface of an issue but not go deeper. Are magazines in danger of fading away into the past, just as newspapers are?
How do you feel about that?
I feel sad because the next generation will never know the excitement of waiting for that next magazine, skimming through the pages, and delighting in the articles inside. Have you, too, succumbed to the digital age and the instant gratification of the Internet or eBooks and emagazines? Will magazines survive the digital age and morph into a new format to be read on tablets?
I guess only the future will tell.