Magazines? Perfect. The magazine industry? Hmmm, not so much.
That’s the opinion from Cable Neuhaus, aka The Modern Magazinist, a figure at FOLIO: since 2015.
Back then, he launched his column with a plea: “Those of us who still obsess over the magic of magazines need to stick together.”
He was absolutely correct.
This week, Neuhaus signed off on his 26th and final column.
“I end where I began: Print magazines are in many respects a perfect thing,” Neuhas, a 50-year veteran of the magazine industry, writes. “Even now, when almost anything analog is perceived as geezer-ish in a digital-dominant world, the best print books still rock. There is nothing else that takes their place.”
He continues, “It hurts to report this, but barely anyone I know is a hardcore fan of print magazines anymore. Not anyone under the age of 40, that’s for sure. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already recognize, and maybe lament, if you’re a regular reader of this website.”
Neuhaus cites the disruption to the magazine model and changing consumer behaviors for the decline.
“ The revolution is real, and it will be lasting,” he writes. “The internet, long feared as an existential threat to traditional publishing, has won. Turn out the lights at your nearest printing plant.”
There is a renewal going on in magazine publishing today, with brands embracing print for its status as a rare and beautiful thing. And there are magazine publishers hitting it out of the park with new revenue models that are consciously created around modern consumer behaviors … not languishing trying to figure out why the old ways aren’t working anymore.
He does concede that quality city and regional books will continue in print, along with those “that specialize in personal and business achievement, art and design, fashion, travel, collecting, and everything relating to what we broadly define as a luxury lifestyle.”
If that’s the case, what’s the problem? Yes, the pendulum has swung away from mass market and toward niche … and so has the esthetic of the modern magazine.
Look at Hearst, look at Bonner, look at Meredith for any number of innovative launches that are thriving around exactly this idea of a print magazine as a luxury item. One thing we do agree on – there is a lot of talent in these magazine companies, and that talent is creating some outstanding publications.
We also agree with this: “I believe that bound magazines remain a perfect thing. They don’t need ‘fixing;’ they only need nurturing by those who still love them.”
We’ll keep the love flowing, folks.