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Frank on Retail Magazine Prices

Published on May 13, 2016

Retail prices for magazines are going up as sales are going down. Frank paid over $10 for a magazine and still has not gotten over it.

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Discussion

By D. Eadward Tree on May 13, 2016

The usual magazine-industry name for these products is bookazine -- a portmanteau word that combines "book" and "magazine." They are not sold as part of a subscription, usually contain few or no ads, focus on a single topic, and are generally priced higher than ad-subsidized magazines. Sales of them have been growing for several years, to some extent crowding out sales of weekly and monthly magazine issues. The Dead Tree Edition blog has covered this trend in several articles, including this one: http://deadtreeedition.blogspot.com/2013/12/a-glimmer-of-growth-amidst-newsstands.html

 

By Joe Webb on May 17, 2016

Oh, Mr. Tree, aren't you the one with the big woids... "portmanteau" -- hmmm.... didn't a cruise I was on stop there? :) I've gotten some of the bookazines over time and can't say that I enjoyed them, especially since my expectations were low. Many of these are from some of the big-name magazine brands, and those expectations for what I was going to get was shaped by that. So if I did not subscribe to magazine A because I did not like its style, editorial thrust, or entertainment value, I found that the bookazine usually had the same characteristics I found unlikeable. Is there a bookazine brand that is not associated with with a regularly published masthead that stands apart from the others?

 

By D. Eadward Tree on May 17, 2016

Dr. Joe, I got the phrase "portmanteau word" from Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass." It's a favorite book of mine, which might explain a few things. Talk about augmented reality!

As for your question, there are some "zombie" brands like "Life" and "U.S. News & World Report" that no longer publish periodicals but still produce bookazines. "The Old Farmer's Almanac" publishes both bookazine and book editions of its annual publication. And there are at least a couple of companies that regularly churn out bookazines that have little or no publisher branding.

 

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