Multi Media Musings

I’m a bit of a crybaby when it comes to receiving my subscription magazines. I read a lot of magazines, so it only makes sense to subscribe, but I feel some cosmic injustice has been served upon me when I’m standing in the check-out line at the grocery store (I have to tell you, I loathe the grocery store, so I’m already a bit put-upon once I get to the check-out line) and I see the latest issue of one of my favorites. That I don’t have yet. Dozens of copies. Mocking me.

Topping the list of favorites is Elle Decor. I think it’s stylish and fresh. And, by the way, I loved this more relaxed photo of Margaret Russell in the last issue. Not that I don’t like her chic party clothes, I do, but this makes me think we could hang out and have coffee. I like that in a magazine editor. Just like I thought Dominique Browning and I would connect immediately because she has boys and I have boys.

But one of the things I have always adored about Elle Decor is their willingness to print really unflattering letters to the editor. I can relate to Elaine’s frustration, although not with this particular publication, as I fired off a similar e:mail to another shelter magazine. But longer. And more detailed. I was relating why I was not retaining my long-held subscriber status. Much to my chagrin, I have inherited a new subscription in lieu of my House and Garden. Sometimes the fates are cruel.

While reading an Easy and Elegant Life (and if you’re not, you’re missing out), I was introduced to “Q: Quintessential Style.” The interesting thing was, when I hit the link, the entire publication is on-line. You turn the page. Contents, pictures, advertisements. It’s all there. This is an intriguing development. The entire content of the magazine is available to me on-line. Free. But oddly, it only makes me want to subscribe. I enjoyed seeing the images on the screen, but I want to hold it in my hand. I want to lie in bed with it before I go to sleep, to linger over engaging layouts.

It’s an interesting puzzle for our publishers. With House and Garden and Blueprint recently expiring, some would say one was a tragic demise while the other a mercy killing, we need to ponder the future of design coverage. The Washington Post seems to be getting in a groove with the blogging world. Terri Sapienza new feature “Blog Watch” is of note. The bloggers are watching, and reporting, driving a little traffic to what could be a Jurassic rejeuvenation.

Image courtesy of the Washington Post.

The Post also has a weekly newsletter  on it’s Home and Garden page. This last week, a brief mention in Janet Bennett’s article doubled my numbers as she was kind enough to include the link.

And, in case you hadn’t noticed, 1st dibs has turned itself into an on-line magazine as well. The content here is some of the best in the business. In addition, previous features remain accessible so, if you have just discovered Maison Jansen, you can enjoy the feature from “past issues.”

Recently, when one of my blogging buddies was wondering if she would prefer working at a shelter magazine to her current profession of interior design, one of the commenters opined that she was, in fact, publishing already. I know that I am seeing some resources on blogs before I am seeing them in print. I doubt the answer will be one or the other, print or electronic. But I do think there is a bit of an evolution afoot. It will be interesting to watch how it develops and see who drives traffic where. Am I buying a magazine because I saw something intriguing on-line? Or am I on-line because I saw something in the magazine? Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Steven Gambrel, his Hamptons home, Elle Decor.

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13 thoughts on “Multi Media Musings

  1. Good question Mrs Blandings. I also love that Elle Decor will print negative letters, just goes to show they don’t really need to be worried…I think Elaine might be on her own…

  2. Great blog! I too have been in the checkout line and seen issues that I haven’t received yet. That really is the reason I prefer to buy. I can’t stand not getting it hot off the press. I am addicted! Do you know what Dominique Browning is doing now? She is a wonderful writer. I loved her monthly letters-like chatting with a classy friend. I buy all shelter publications but I have to admit my favorite is House Beautiful, a longtime friend. Perhaps you know what happened to Mark Mayfield and Karol De Wolf of Traditional Home. When you read all of these monthly it’s like losing a friend when they leave without a word. Am I crazy?

  3. That is one of my great frustrations too – as a subscriber you should be getting it before the super market! I am curious to see how this new blogger land will affect the magazines. I think really they could work hand in hand because there is something so satisfying about holding it in your hand and reading it. I think they can coexist – at least I hope so!!

  4. Why’d ya have to get me started…one of my pet peeves,includes grocery shopping (no wonder I like you Mrs.B) as well as spotting the latest issue which I do not have. Many a trip to the mailbox or stalking my mail-person saying -“Are you sure you don’t have it?”
    I am also faced with the male counterparts subscriptions arriving before mine, Consumer Reports, Auto Week, SKI, and now PC World.
    My female scribes (aka subscriptions) seem like marshmallow fluff and I seriously am addicted to books. So beware – I may just leave my “fashionably late” magazines by the wayside to books,blogs, Mrs.B, and belgian chocolates.

  5. Interesting points, as usual Mrs.B. Cottage living is also available digitized online. I mentioned it on my new blog a few posts back.

  6. The Washington Post (and the NY Times) have interesting slide shows that are an expansion of what they have in print. One of my faves from the Post was Sally Quinn’s DC house.

  7. Patricia, great analysis. You’re returning to your journalism roots. I hope both (print and online) will continue to complement each other. Clearly I’m a fan of the internet — I like the ease and speed. But radio didn’t die with the advent of TV, so it will be interesting to see how things evolve.

  8. Mrs. Blandings, I suspect that you rarely take off your thinking cap–I expect pure “stuff and design” blurbs here, yet you consistently surprise me with your broad interests.

    I love all of the new design info available online and I think it is just beginning. Unlike you, I am not a huge subscriber; however, I pick up the magazines that catch my eye at the market and my favourite bookstore. I love going online because I feel green doing it and I feel that I have access to more beauty and design information than I could ever buy. I will always buy books and magazines but online is the cutting edge. Just look at how many visuals you share with us in one entry. I get so much out of it. As magazines expand their online subscriptions, I can only imagine the interactive and creative possibilities for readers. I am thrilled. And how great that you and your fellow design bloggers are paving the way for citizen shelter publishers!

  9. I’ve had this conversation with friends more times than I can count. I LOVE leafing through my magazines while sitting on my couch and especially traveling but the immediacy of the internet is amazing. The ability to google a topic and find not only information but also images in an instant is what I love most. I applaude the magazines who are realizing that they must imbrace the online world and create internet content or at least make the print material available online. It’s actually a great marketing tool for them too when bloggers pull photos and refer back to them. I am definitely interested to see what the future holds!

  10. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to get back here today. I guess, if you’re reading, you are well aware of the print/electronic debate. But it seems that incorporating electronic media into the overall plan needs to be part of the whole process, not just an afterthought. I do like seeing “more” images from the layouts – as I’m sure many good ones don’t hit the page.

    On a much more concrete issue, I’m starting to wonder if the subscription-delay is becoming part of the plan. Lots of folks are telling me they “can’t wait.” I just spoke to a magazine editor here, formerly of London. She said across the pond the great percentage of readers buys from the news stands; fewer subscribe. It gives an interesting twist to the business. A great amount of energy is directed to the cover – and less to the advertisers. I think I read that HG’s subscriptions were up, but news stand sales down (am I getting this backward?) and it was one of the factors in the publisher leaving. We’ll all be standing by, but I don’t want to lose another cherished book. I hope they figure out the equation, but quick.

  11. I ,too ,want and need my subscription before the market. I often question if mine got”lost” ?I will go as far as to purchase the full price one: as to not miss that month’s…low and behold it comes the next day!

  12. I also loved to read Dominique Browning (must get her book), but the one I really miss is Mayer Rus, of Testy Tastemaker fame. Whenever I got an issue of H&G, I always flipped to the back page first!

    Chelsea Girl

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