Article: Magazine's shelf life has no boundaries
A recent Robert Sacks newsletter carried this article, originally on SacBee.com, and I loved it. Really heartening at a time when everyone is talking about the impending death of the printed magazine.
Here is a shortened version:
Every month, about 5 million National Geographics are printed. And many people seem to hoard them. For years, for decades. Why?---------------------------
Every month, about 5 million National Geographics are printed. That works out to more than 2,000 tons and around 4,000 cubic yards of magazines.
Some of them wind up in the dump, but many more accumulate on shelves in dens. Or in boxes in the garage. Or piles in the attic.
In many cases, the collectors don't read them, but they keep them. For years, for decades. Why?
"It's heartbreaking to throw them away," said Skinner. "They're too nice."The pictures are by some of the world's best photographers and the printing is top-notch.
Skinner's accumulation dates to the 1980s, but her parents in New Zealand have a collection dating back to the 1950s, she said.
Kit Yarrow, another consumer psychologist at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, agrees with that assessment, but thinks there's more. "It's special," she said. "Readers feel an intimacy with this magazine. It's emotional."
For many owners, even recycling seems too cruel a fate, so they hold onto magazines, waiting to put them to use.
The attachment to the yellow magazine is so cultish, said Husni, that when an issue was published with a gold cover, it generated complaints."Where is my yellow spine?" was the beef from subscribers accustomed to displaying shelves of unbroken yellow, Husni said.
There's only one other magazine that has created a similar bond, said Yarrow.
Playboy. People -- mostly men, we suspect -- hoard those issues, too.