A Guide to Magazine Editors


A Guide to Magazine Editors

A magazine is a printed periodical that normally is published in glossy and matte photographic paper. Magazines are usually published irregularly and have a wide range of content, ranging from news to reviews to articles. They are usually financed either by an annual sale by an advance payment, by subscriptions, or by both. There are many magazines in print that have been continuously in existence for more than half a century.

Magazines are a part of our lives and have an effect on all of us. For example, a recent survey showed that people who read magazines are more likely to be involved in consumer behavior, more positively inclined toward others, and more positive in their outlook toward social issues. Magazines influence the buying habits of millions of readers every year. According to some researchers, “A reader is twice as likely to buy a product after reading a consumer magazine than after reading a newspaper.” This means that magazine printing makes money!

The magazine business in the late twentieth century has undergone dramatic changes. Earlier, magazines were printed on simple press, with ink rollers feeding pages per color roll. “Giclee” prints offered the most vibrant colors at a high cost, making them out of reach of most small businesses. In addition, magazine printing was limited to a size less than eight inches by six inches, well within the reach of the average sized business. “Thick” magazines used a stapler, held up by a hinge, to attach larger portions of text and images to an open back board.

“Cover” magazines, those that have large front covers, appeared in the early nineteenth century. “Pages per inch” rates were initially advertised in tiny print. A “page per square inch” magazine was advertised by its manufacturer with an explanation that the rate was the lowest among all magazine sizes. “Cover” magazines, which represented a major challenge to the established magazine format, finally came into being with the development of mass-market newsprint. “Page per square inch” rates became the norm for “news” magazines, and “information” magazines (which represented a smaller market than “news” magazines). Today, almost all major newspapers and magazines offer “cover” formats.

One of the biggest challenges facing the magazine industry today is increasing circulation. With fewer people shopping or reading magazines on a daily basis, and with increasing population in urban areas, magazine circulation drops. Many magazines have resorted to “grocery shopping,” buying many magazines at local grocery stores, which costs a lot more than purchasing them at a newsstand. To solve this problem, many magazines have gone into the business of providing the reader with information and entertainment on the Internet. Some popular “grocery shopping” sites include AOL News, Fast Company, Giganews, Kibbitz, and The New Yorker’s Web Tips blog.

Advertising is the life blood of any magazine. Advertising rates have been falling steadily for several years as magazine revenues have been stagnant or lowered. To increase magazine revenue, magazine editors are often forced to cut back on some of their editorial independence, accept advertising from outside companies, and rely more heavily on their sales force and marketing department to help increase circulation. Many magazines have gone under because they were unable to increase circulation, either because of reduced advertising revenue changing readership, a poor magazine aesthetic, financial issues, a merger, a bankruptcy, or a change in editorial policy. Increasing circulation is much easier when magazine editors and book designers are willing to compromise on some magazine editorial independence.