Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Whither the Magazine Rack?

The airport magazine rack used to be a thing of glory — not quite so glorious as the one in the city bus depot, perhaps, but still mightily impressive. Tier upon tier of selection, including exotic European variants of popular Yankee glossies.
In this most recent return to the Canadian prairies I was struck by what an emaciated shadow of itself the airport magazine rack had become. The Relay shops at Toronto Pearson International, for example, all had the exact same selection regardless of whether they were single-staffed booths in the hall to the gate or larger, multi-staffed venues located in the various hubs.
“Hundreds” of mastheads have been pared down to a few dozen. And once-popular variants like the British editions of Men's Health, GQ or Esquire are nowhere to be seen.

I was struck, but not surprised. My own magazine habits have altered radically. Ten years ago it wasn't uncommon of me to lay down money for a dozen titles in a given month. Today, a quick glance at the living room coffee table reveals the two most recent magazines purchased are . . . Revolver (June/July 2018) and Rolling Stone (September 2018). Both publications committed to a massive redesign, tooling up into a bizarre “prestige” format — super-high-quality paper, larger format, photo-heavy, etc.
We can now add the January 2019 issue of Harper's Magazine. “Donald Trump is a Good President”? Alrighty then — persuade me, Michel.

More anon.

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