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Wednesday, 30 July 2008

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I'm only familiar with some of the photo magazines that are usually found in supermarkets or big stores. Those titles usually are just a bunch of articles about gear.

Any recommendations of good magazine reading that isn't quite so equipment focused? Bonus points if a subscription isn't too pricey.

Mike, I get as many as I can on "Zinio Reader." All ads go right to the web site if I'm interested in some product. The price is right and I don't have to take them to the dump as land fill (recycle) and it saves on ink and trees.

On a big screen they're easy to read and you can magnify the page. The photos come out great, much better than the printed page. You can carry 100s of mags on your laptop for future reading or reference. If it wasn't for your blog, I wouldn't get to see all the great photos you post from time to time. Wave of the future.

Thanks, Carl

@Aaron:

I highly recommend Black and White Magazine

http://www.bandwmag.com/

and Rangefinder

http://www.rangefindermag.com/index2.tml

The former is a great example of little fluff and lots of great b&w photography, and the latter is more focused on photographers and the story of their work/success. I look forward to each issue.

Rangefinder also has a companion magazine called Aftercapture that I'm enjoying as well. AC focuses on different post-production techniques with a heavy emphasis on Photoshop techniques.

Mike, One other point about Zinio, if the photo is a two page spread, half of it isn't in the gutter.
Thanks, Carl

Your comments about subscribing don't apply in all countries, particularly the UK given you mention ASDA. The US enjoys special postal rates for printed materials and newspapers. In the UK, there are no concessions and magazines are charged at full postal rates based on weight and size, which is why UK magazine subscriptions are sometimes more than the cost of the equivalent newstand prices.

Mike

I'm afraid that we're sending you tesco - who are easily a match for Walmart in the corporate plague stakes.

Mike

A local chain of stores (Dunnes) recently tried to extort better terms from the Guardian and Observer newspapers. Better than anyone else in Ireland that is. They were told to get stuffed, or words to that effect.

Anyway I buy very few magazines now since the advent of the internet.

Your comments about the economics of newsstand/subscription sales are dead on. One more point: unless something has changed since I was involved in magazine publishing, a subscription can be canceled at any time and the publisher must give you a refund for the undelivered copies. Not much risk involved in trying out a subscription to a periodical that you find interesting.

Speaking of magazines. I think it's time to start giving revues to some in the same manner as you do books. Not all journals could be found on the local newsstands, not all are distributed like that. (And photo-related section in the community library is worse than a joke.) Finding the right literature is a big problem... And subscription links via your site could be another way to support this site!

For anyone looking for an image-centric photographic arts magazine, try Lenswork - http://www.lenswork.com/

Their subscription rates tend to be higher than other publications. You don't get any advertising either. Just great photos and interesting essays on the art and craft of image making.

Mike, Another aspect regarding magazine sales through an outlet is the massive waste that results. The magazines that are not sold are destroyed (the majority, from what I understand).

One excellent magazine (Lenswork) has recently moved to a primarily subscription only model for both economic and environmental reasons. A move that I support through continued subscription.

The problem with most magazines is that they have to appeal to a general audience, and people don't have general gear or (usually) general interests. Their specific gear and specific interests are so thoroughly treated in narrow-focus web blogs (where you can sometimes talk to the actual developers of such software as Photoshop) that magazines seem redundant. What magazine could possibly treat Nikon as thoroughly as Thom Hogan, or the Nikonians web, or Moose Peterson, or Bjorn Rorslett? The same is true for Canonites, Pentaxians, Liecawegians, and so on -- or sports shooters, landscape artists, wildlife guys, or whatever. It's a hard pill to swallow for an old magazine guy, but hey, I'm an old newspaper guy, and I'm watching newspapers all over the country getting hurt, and actually failing.

The model for the new magazine is like those called "Fabulous Estates," or whatever, and which are actually 200 full-color pages of estates for sale. In other words, the reader is *paying* to look at ads.

JC

Most Photoshop magazines are rehashed tutorial sites from the net .......... a great money earner and a way to relieve the punter from a sizeable sum

Asda is just trying to profit from magazines the same way they profit from the rest of the items they sell, grocery stores sell their shelves by the inch to the food industry, and even make them stock the shelves themselves.

OT: Ever notice that Coke and Pepsi products are never on sale at the same time, but one of them is always on sale, you think this happens by chance.

I was very pleased when wal-mart discontinued trading in germany about two years ago. their way of trading never got accepted there.

Regards to lenswork, I believe it is no longer being sent to newstands or stores like Barnes & Noble, but is still being carried by some camera stores and available by subscription. It really is a marvelous publication edition. www.lenswork.com.

I wonder is this placement system isn't different in Japan. Here, even fairly small book shops and newsstands carry an excessive amount of very (very!) specialist magazines. Yes, the population is fairly large and hobbies of all kinds is a big interest, but still - could there be room for not one, not two, but three stationery collector magazines if they had to pay those kinds of fees to get onto the shelves? Magazine racks are reused heavily here of course; you might have a burst of photography magazines one week, to be replaced by a torrent of mobile phone magazines the next. It almost seems publication of any one subject is coordinated, and rotated in and out every month.

But mostly I never look at magazines any more. The net is just so much timely and informative than most magazines I used to read that I've given up on them. I do read one or two Japanese photo magazines now and then; the print quality is high enough to justify buying them just for the images, and they manage a kind of quirky, obsessive-compulsive bubbly enthusiasm in their gear articles ("lenscaps - a history"; that sort of thing) that is just plain fun to read. The vast majority of magazines just don't reach that kind of level though.

So what should I do when I pay for a subscription and dont get anything from the publisher? As it did happen to me.

Peter,
Then you call the subscription department and tell them you're not getting your magazines. (And, probably, try to figure out which one of your neighbors is stealing your mail.)

Mike J.

Although I despise ASDA and its practices (especially for selecting food so low-quality that is toxic, but also for the magazine issue), I must say that I do not like to subscribe. True, you save money, but you end up by buying more issues that are not very interesting for you, and this means MORE WASTED PAPER.
So I prefer to pay only for those (few) issues that I like.
Cheers
Marco

I did communicate with the subsript. dept a few times but somehow did not lead anywhere.

This was an e-publication, so my neighbour was not guilty, this time.

Wow - that is incredible...Some more on this from the Guardian here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/jul/29/pressandpublishing1?gusrc=rss&feed=media

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/jul/29/pressandpublishing2

Also, may I second the recommendation for Black & White Photography magazine - I'm in my second year of subscription now!

Craig

It's even worse than this Quotes from (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/jul/29/pressandpublishing1 ),

"The supermarket company is also demanding that any new title distributed in its stores will be subject to an "item set up" charge of £2,464."

"According to the email memo, the supermarket is also requesting that a turnover bonus to the value of 2% of its magazine suppliers' total business with Asda be paid quarterly to the supermarket and backdated to January 1 2008."

"In addition to these charges Asda is also seeking a "hurdle rate" for new titles carried in stores, so if sales of the magazines are 20% less than forecast the supermarket will be compensated with the difference."

The Guardian has some comments from magazine publishers, you can guess the tone of those comments without me posting more of them ...

Why does it take 4-6 weeks for the magazine to arrive at your doorstep once you subscribe?

"Why does it take 4-6 weeks for the magazine to arrive at your doorstep once you subscribe?"

Because they don't want to risk starting your subscription with an issue you might already have bought. That elicits loud & persistent complaints.

Mike J.

Cover vs. Cover:

I remember the skull. I didn't remember the typeface but seeing it again reminds me that it works. It's kinky and curly and odd and intriguing. Maybe worth investigating, hmm?. Like the blue skull.

I remember the woman, now that I've looked three or four times. Sort of. More portrait stuff, printing papers, etc. Whatever it was.

Check out a landscape gardening magazine, then see some work by Andy Goldsworthy.

There is noise. Here is wonder.

From 37Signals' book "Getting Real":

"Hire the Right Customers.

"Find the core market for your application and focus solely on them.

"The customer is not always right. The truth is you have to sort out who's right and who's wrong for your app."

And...

"If you try to please everyone, you won't please anyone.

"By narrowing our market... we made it more likely to attract passionate customers who, in turn, would evangelize the product. Know who your app is really intended for and focus on pleasing them."

And...

"What's the Big Idea?

"Explicitly define the one-point vision for your app.

"What does your app stand for? What's it really all about? Before you start designing or coding anything you need to know the purpose of your product — the vision. Think big. Why does it exist? What makes it different than other similar products?

"This vision will guide your decisions and keep you on a consistent path. Whenever there's a sticking point, ask, 'Are we staying true to the vision?'"

The good doesn't always last. It's worth paying more for it but too easy to pay lots for crap. And wake up too late. But quality will always arise again. We hope.

Getting Real: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/

Andy Goldsworthy Rivers and Tides clip on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TWBSMc47bw

Andy Goldsworthy From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Goldsworthy

Mike, your story of the over-priced consultant (that's redundant) reminded me of this poster:

http://www.despair.com/consulting.html

I subscribe to several small-to-medium size magazines. Here's some tips to save them money:

1. Don't send me 10 different re-subscription letters. If I like the mag, I'll resubscribe. If not, I won't.

2. Don't start sending me re-sub letters 18 months before my two year subscription runs out. All this does is annoy me and get me in the habit of throwing away your letters. Send me one just two or three months before the subscription ends.

Living in Canada one finds that often
foreign (including US magazines) often are
more expensive in every way. Our postage costs are really quite high, there is no longer a special magazine rate for mailings and one would assume the Canadian dollar is still not
on par with other world currencies. Then too there is the matter of actual delivery. It irks me no end to see a magazine with which I have a subscription appear on the local new stand often eight weeks before the same
magazine with the same cover date appears in my home mail slot. And what's often worse the magazine was mailed in Canada either in
Windsor or in Niagara Falls Ontario, both
of which act as postal return addresses for numerous US publications!

Then too have found magazines often rehash
what has been printed years prior; sure for photo magazines things are a bit different but not that much different! Then too for my other hobbies, the internet suffices for most things.

I am at an age where enough paper comes trickling in the postal slot as it is what with postal junk mail and similar. I have
stopped receiving newspapers, again if any
news is really important I can always find it on the internet. Unless happenings in the
world directly affect me, I'll find out
eventually. When you're over sixty and
things change, not much else is going to
happen to you that is earth shattering.

Cameras will still record images, wheels on
transportation devices will still turn, boats will continue to float and aeroplanes will
continue to fly. And political people
will still talk in fairy tale
wordings "Once upon a time..."

Re subscriptions and UK magazines. For some bizarre reason the majority of UK magazines work out more expensive to subscribe to for non UK Europeans than buying them in a newsagent. More bizarrely again, you pay less if you live in the "Rest of the world" and can pay in US$, so if I were to live in Outer Mongolia, my sub rates would be worthwhile, but not in Ireland!

At this point, and with more relevance for where we're at, I must point out notable exceptions to this dumbness: "B&W Photography", "Outdoor Photography", and "Amateur Photography" all have sensible European sub rates, and are therefore all duly subscribed to.

John

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