What Change Looks Like Close Up

Yesterday, as usual, my hair stylist asked if I wanted to read any magazines. No – I said – I’ve brought my laptop to do some work.

She said – I don’t really read magazines anymore. And I said – Neither do I really. I used to buy them all the time. And she said – Yeah so did I.

Apart from location and our views about hair, we have practically nothing in common. She’s 30-something, very styly, does hot yoga. I’m not and I don’t.

So it’s interesting when two such different people have the same behaviour. I wondered if we had the same reasons for it.

So I said – Why don’t you buy them so much now? And she said – they’re expensive and there’s really not much in them. I said – so what do you do instead – and she said – Google things on my iPad.

I do that too – I said – on my laptop. And Pinterest. She said – Oh yes I love Pinterest. And Tumblr. And Instagram.

I find out a lot on Facebook I said. She didn’t reply.

Later I picked up a recent magazine and leafed through it. It was great – very engrossing. Good stories. Nice graphics. As good as ever.

In this ocean of information though, print magazines are up against a lot more sources of competition than they have ever been. So far, despite my hair stylist and I, many are holding their own.

Update: 27 May 2015

I talked to someone in the industry recently about this. His company has just invested in some very sophisticated printing technology. So you’re putting your faith in the printed word? I asked. He said – Jill, when international air travel began, did ocean liners disappear? It’s true – they didn’t. But [I thought afterwards] when DVDs came along did videotapes disappear? Some products have intrinsic appeal.

As magazines increasingly inhabit both online and offline worlds they are actually much better placed than  both passenger ships and videotape. There will always be content and communities of interest whatever form they take.But it will be interesting to look back in five to ten years and see what happened.


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