I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that you are reading this on a computer screen. (I know, I know, my psychic abilities are astounding.)

The question is: how much of your reading do you do from a computer screen?

Obviously I am a blogger, and also enjoy reading other people’s web work. If someone in my family presents some sort of medical symptom, I am quickly Googling it to access the information as quickly as possible. (Okay, let’s me honest, if I hear a celebrity couple has split, I am quickly Googling it to access the information as quickly as possible.) Although the Internet has enhanced my reading experiences (as well as replaced the need to do many of my errands in person, e.g. banking, shopping), there’s no way it will ever replace my need for print media.

I love magazines. I come by it honestly, as my grandmother, mother, aunt and great-aunt have taken part in a complicated magazine exchange since I was a child. (“Take the Chatelaine to Grandma’s. Tell her I need the Ladies’ Home Journal and Maclean’s, Aunt Shirley hasn’t seen the Good Housekeeping, and Susan can read the Redbook before me, as long as she sends it back after.”)

Once the issues had made their rounds, they would come back to our house with “Discard” written in black marker on the cover, an indication to me that they were fair game for tearsheets and collages. I can remember my Mom reading “Glamour”, then foregoing it in favour of (what I believed at the time to be) old lady magazines. (I have since followed suit.) Her sister, only eight years older than me, first passed me her Teen, then YM, then Seventeen, which taught me many womanly facts before my time, but fostered my adoration of the medium.

I love being able to throw a magazine in my purse, enjoy it in the tub, or flip through it while on the treadmill. (One of my workout secrets, by the way. I force myself to save the best magazines for my treadmill sessions. Very motivating.) There’s also a satisfaction that comes with devouring your favourite title cover to cover – much more daunting if attempting to navigate an online edition.

Plus, there seems to be a credibility that comes along with print media. Information in a “real magazine” must be true, advertisers must be legit. It saves a lot of wasted time being sceptical.

Although I often check out various parenting websites (and the online editions of print magazines), between my brother’s wife and myself, we subscribe to the print version of pretty much every North American parenting magazine on the market.

You may think that perhaps I am biting the hand that feeds me, by promoting print magazines over the all-powerful Internet. The thing is, I make nothing from blogging, a minimal amount from magazine writing, but my true salary is paid by the taxpayers of the province of Ontario. (Thank you, by the way.) Therefore, I feel no particular loyalty to digital media.

I am intrigued by the recent ad campaign by magazine publishers called “Magazines: The Power of Print”. (Is it ironic or perfectly appropriate that they also have a website?)  If you’re a regular reader like me, there’s no way you have missed the 2-page spreads found in every title I’ve seen lately, touting research which shows that magazine readership is actually increasing, and adults between 18 and 34 (who presumably would be the most web-savvy) are among the most dedicated readers when it comes to issues read per month and time spent per issue.

One of my favourite quotes from the advertising campaign: “We surf the Internet. We swim in magazines…people aren’t giving up swimming just because they also enjoy surfing.”

I’d love to know what you think. Do you still read magazines? Which ones? Has the Internet replaced any of your print magazine reading?

3 comments on “Magazines: The Power of Print”

  1. I much prefer print to on-line. Maybe I'm old school but I prefer the comfort of the couch or my bed or a nice easy chair outside to being hunched over a computer screen (no – I don't own a laptop – maybe that's what it takes). Plus I save my magazines forever and I like going back to them years later to refresh my feeble memory and I'm less likely to be able to find something on the internet from last week – much less last year…..

  2. OMG, I had to reply! I was howling when I read of your "complicated magazine exchange", especially the switch to "old lady magazines" – that's what I used to think when my Mom subscribed to Chatelaine! We did, and still do, the same thing! I'm a 33-year-old teacher/mom in Peterborough, but I exchange magazines with my mom in Fenelon Falls, my sister in Huntsville, and of course my 83-year-old Grandma in Uxbridge, who is the one who subscribes to the much coveted (if somewhat embarassing to admit) People. I usually get People only after Grandma has read it and passed it on to Auntie Monika in Pickering (who marks an M on the cover to denote she's seen it), and then Mom passes it on to me, often all within the span of a week.

    I have a huge list of books I'd love to devour, many I'm in line for from girlfriends or the library, but I've found that my magazines are much more enjoyable lately. Maybe it's because I actually have the time for them. With a two year old, you know how little "free" time we have! Magazines are my guilty pleasure, and I subscribe to a lot: Style at Home, Today's Parent, Dwell (love it!), Architectural Digest (just let subscription lapse) currently, but at times up to 6. I think there's something about those glossy pages, plus there's always something new and they're (hopefully) current. I don't ever see the internet replacing that.

    Thanks for an enjoyable read. I've told you before, I'm not much for blogs, but I really like yours!

  3. Well…I have to admit that I love magazines but I rarely subscribe to them! I seem to be in the middle of the magazine exchange between my mother (a die-hard magazine subscriber and my mother-in-law!) I LOVE reading magazines especially on a Sat morning while having a tea! I always tend to give magazine subscriptions as gifts all the time but I never seem to get any in return! Anyway, love magazines and no they certainly have not been replaced by digital print! We just need a break from the computer now and again!
    Great blog Kate!
    Krista S.

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