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Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Future of the Magazine

When I heard last week that Condé Nast would no longer publish Gourmet, I began to think more seriously about the fate of print magazines in general. Nast also counts Vogue, Wired, The New Yorker, GQ and Vanity Fair among its 25-plus publications. While newsstands seem to be rich with print magazines, I wondered what the landscape would look like in a few years. Former magazine staffer Jeff Jarvis weighed in on his Buzz Machine blog. According to Jarvis:

Packaging used to be a key value of magazines: the great editor selecting the interesting topics and good writers and cooking a meal out of it. But in the era of media unbundling, the magazine becomes an instant anachronism. Reading the New Yorker or Economist or Vanity Fair becomes an act of living nostalgia, at least for those who can remember them. For the next generation reading magazines and newspapers and buying albums is – haven’t we learned this yet? – an alien experience, a media oddity.
A more conservative blog, Rod Dreher’s CrunchyCon, is less happy about the demise of Gourmet. He encourages readers to subscribe or re-subscribe to favorite magazines to help them survive in print format. He concludes in his Oct. 6 post: “I have reclined in bed at the end of the day, and read stories from my laptop, and I have reclined in bed at the end of the day and read stories in conventional magazines. There's no comparison. I'm so old-school it hurts.”

Digital Magazines at the Library
For those who don’t mind reading magazine articles online, our library offers millions of articles for free in our periodical databases. If you want access to the complete text of articles in your favorite magazines all you have to do is access our Web site.

If you click on Databases and then Magazines, you will see more than 20 electronic magazine resources listed and that is just the tip of the iceberg. For general interest magazines your best bet is EBSCOhost General Reference Center Gold and MasterFILE Premier. For example, you can find the complete text of articles in issues of Time and Rolling Stone from 1990 forward or Parenting from 1997. There’s lesser-known and more specialized journals and newspapers as well. Explore online or stop by your nearest branch for a quick intro to our electronic periodical resources. All you need is a library card!

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