Friday, 18 February 2011


Apologies for the radio silence (like you've missed it...). We're so old fashioned here, we actually hibernate throughout January.

I tell a lie, it's actually not the weather that makes us go to sleep, it's more the incessant drone of online soothsayers predicting the end of print magazines that has this numbing effect. I don't know whether they have just been sacked by a magazine, or perhaps been given a new iSomething by their friend from London, but there seems to be an awful lot of it going around.

We've all been to a dinner party with those parents who insist that everything in their house runs like clockwork, kids behave like angels and they all have a group hug whilst singing songs from The Sound of Music each morning after breakfast. That's what I think is happening online, it's a kind of therapy where if you tell yourself and everyone else who's listening (anyone?) the same things over and over again, then it might become true. Well, let me tell you, my kids are naughty.

Which is why it's important for magazine readers to actually ask themselves a fundamental question, and to answer it honestly: Is it a more pleasant experience to read from paper or from a screen? I'm not going to continue with all the pros and cons as I'm quite sure you have a brain of your own.

Magazine sales since 2001 have fallen roughly 32% according to the latest sales figures, that's over a whole decade. The FTSE 100 and UK houseprice graphs can make that look insignificant over much shorter terms without too much trouble. I imagine, too, that the iPad Wired magazine sales have had an even more impressive drop since it's launch....?

Aside for the guesswork above, I can divulge that "a decent" percentage of our customers here at Newsstand are firmly from the digitally enhanced generation, (and by that I mean teenagers and not ageing models). So let's not listen to those on their digital devices, banging the drum for their digital devices. Make your own mind up, be assured that the printed magazine will be around for the rest of your life and perhaps consider this whole episode as more of a "rebirth" than the curtains coming down. We do, as it helps us get to sleep at night....

And crucially: Don't buy it just because it's shiny.

PS Any data cited above is cultivated from unhelpfully labelled graphs on dubious websites and therefore may not be at all accurate....

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