Another One Bites the Dust


I just read on Deb Duesenberry's Curious Sofa retail blog that Country Home magazine from Meredith Corporation is the latest casualty in the shelter publications industry. Deb apparently received an email directly from Meredith, informing her that the magazine will cease production in the near future. Recently I also heard that Oprah's 'O at Home' magazine is no longer being published.

Just last month, Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion magazine announced that its publisher was not renewing their contract, and the November/December 2008 issue was the last one. A few years ago, Victoria magazine was shut down nearly overnight by Hearst Publishing. Victoria was revived in 2007 by Hoffman Publications (who also produce Tea Time and Paula Deen's magazines) and is now alive & well with tons of thrilled fans - hopefully, another publisher will step up to continue the excellence of MEHC and their mission of featuring artisans & shoppes in each issue. This one magazine did more for independent creative businesses than anything else I know of.

Country Home may not be so lucky. Though they have worked hard to stay abreast of trends and changes in the interior design industry, country-style decor is in a constant state of reinvention and varies widely across not just our nation but the world. As far as meeting the needs of a large demographic, they have a lot of competition out there - as did Oprah and many others - and that includes popular decorating blogs. If you can get your inspiration & information FREE on the Internet, why buy a magazine??? If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, reduce your use of paper - browse online and print out only what you need to.

If I had one suggestion for these now-defunct magazines, and others who worry that they'll follow suit, I'd say get busy fast to recreate a content-rich format of their websites, and keep them fresh each day - sort of a glorified/expanded blog theory. Sell ads & links, sell downloads, sell products - but keep those stories and ideas and inspiration coming to us via the Internet instead of the newsstand. Rethink what magazines are really offering us and focus on content instead of printing pages. Keep your staff employed because you can actually put more content on a website than you can in a 110 page printed publication.

Oh, and I'd also suggest that they stop selling magazine subscriptions on their websites when they decide to close down. It's disturbing and annoying to pay subscription fees, and then be informed that you will be receiving another magazine in its place.

OK, off my soapbox...

3 comments:

  1. Hello Miz Diva!

    I'm on a rant, so here goes!

    Re: Country Home Magazine and others going away....sad....but it is just not enjoyable to try to read a magazine when all it is about is product placement and ads....and those darn cards stuck between the pages....talk about waste of paper. Yes, I subscribe to County Home.

    I want to know where to buy the products used in the homes; however, I do want a magazine with a little bit of content. At least Martha Stewart has articles worth keeping.

    Mostly women buy these magazines and they want to see articles about people like them and their families, and their homes, not two designers who don't have children with houses that has furniture that will never be puked on unless the dog eats grass (sorry to be gross ~ is that word still used?).

    We don't want magazines, or newspapers for that matter, to go away. It is important for society for them to stay around. As an old lady, it dumbfounds me that publishers and editors are so ignorant. If they published what the public wanted, they would still be in business.

    Computers are a wonderful source of knowledge, but the feel of a magazine or newspaper in your hand...to hold a page up and invision what your room would look like with that table...or letting your child cut out pictures...we can't lose those things. We need them. Besides, what would we do in the doctor's office if we didn't have three year old magazines to read?

    Hello editors out there. I would really love a magazine that had the articles in one section and the ads in another. Believe it or not I would really look at the ads too. And you newspaper people....how about who, what, where, and when....and let me decide....I don't need your opinion or your bias.

    Thanks for letting me rattle on.

    I really enjoy your blog and always find it useful and inspiring. Thanks.

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  2. Well said, Helen! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Now, if we could just get the editors & publishers to read this.....

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  3. I am always looking for inspiration.
    My quiet down time in a bubble bath with magazines is one of my favorite ways to find and absorb (haha) fresh new ideas. I even stay away from venders that don't offer catalogs because I do my best comparitive shopping for the my store in the tub.
    Do you have any suggestions of sites I should view that might fill my need for visual inspriration?

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my take on retail visual design:

"The thing is, retail design is driven by psychology. It is by manipulating space, visuals, lighting, sound, smell, and mood that we influence customers to enter, stay, browse, buy, and return. It is an endless exercise in change, endurance, growth, education, and imagination that enables retailers to stay on top of their game and at the forefront of their customer's minds. Yes, what you sell IS important - but even the very best merchandise won't sell at full price if it's presented in torn boxes on dirty shelves in a store that is too crowded to turn around in. Visual impact is a huge part of business, and utilizing the principles that have been proven to work can help you build a better business." ~ DWK