Thursday, February 25, 2010

Has It Come to This?

Let me be clear. I love a lot of magazines. This is not one of them. I never subscribed to Woman's Day. However, unfortunately, it showed up in my mailbox a few days ago. It wasn't a surprise. I received an all too familiar postcard informing me that yet another publication to which I had subscribed was now defunct and this rag would be taking its place.

A common source of angst and frustration for lovers of interior design and a hot topic in the blogosphere has been the demise of too many wonderful shelter magazines over the past year or two. Ad revenues are down, so beloved publications are now just a memory . . . a sad epitaph to these trying economic times. I hate to sound melodramatic, but my mood soured after looking through the aforementioned piece of crap. To put it kindly, it sucks. Or blows . . . whichever is worse. I'm sorry if I've offended any lovers of Woman's Day, but I'm actually amazed and a little perturbed that this publication has survived while so many better ones have fallen.

So, how did I end up with Woman's Day? How did this sad downward spiral start? It all began with one of my favorite design magazines, Domino.
Oh, Domino, how I miss thee. As Penelope Green of The New York Times wrote, "Domino magazine captured an aesthetic, and a readership, that was emblematic of a fizzy, girlish moment in design." I couldn't agree more. Now, the fizz is gone.

After Domino folded in April 2009, I think its publishers started sending me Metropolitan Home instead. I say "think" because my memory is playing tricks on me. But I believe that's how I started getting Met Home as I don't remember subscribing.
Okay . . . that was fine. While Met Home was a little modern for my taste, at least it was an interior design magazine. Well, predictably enough, Metropolitan Home folded toward the end of 2009.

In MH's place, I started to receive Cookie which was sort of a hip parenting/lifestyle mag.
While I wasn't swooning over Cookie, it had some redeeming qualities. Sort of a cross between Real Simple, Martha Stewart and Parents. I thought it was acceptable. I'm a parent. I'm somewhat hip. But, guess what? It's one of the latest victims of the publishing world's smackdown. That's how the Cookie crumbled (sorry, couldn't resist).

So now . . . Woman's Day?! Really? Has anyone seen this publication? Maybe in a waiting room somewhere? It's a disaster. And that's being kind. I majored in journalism (not that you can tell from my complete lack of adherence to AP style), so I'm not just speaking from the perspective of an interior design junkie. The editorial content is abysmal. The layout is so bad I can't tell where the ads end and the actual copy begins. It's printed on the flimsiest paper (a la Better Homes and Gardens) that feels one step up from tissue paper making it even more unappealing to flip through. And I would say 85% of the content is pharmaceutical ads. I guess that explains it. If you throw in a few tips (50 Things to Do with $5) with your ads you can pay for your publication. Otherwise, forget it, your magazine is destined for that recycle bin in the sky.

I think I'm going to save a few trees and request that whatever WD subscription I have left be forfeited. In the meantime, I'll enjoy my two favorite design magazines -- Elle Decor and House Beautiful -- and hope they don't meet the fate of some of their sister shelter publications. May they rest in peace.

 Sources: NY Times online, Media Bistro, Conde Nast, Hachette Filipacchi


Matt said...

Nice post. Sad times indeed. On a positive note, the issue of Domino you selected had Zoey on the cover. Was that for me?

My Interior Life said...

Call it a happy coincidence, Matt. I knew you would appreciate that. I probably still have that issue in my archives if you'd like to take a peek.

arrione said...

Really? Southern Accents and Cottage Living are no longer? How sad! I too loved Domino and Cookie which I must have received when Southern Accents fell? I wondered how I got those magazines.....Ah bon, House Beautiful is still with us, thankfully!!!

My Interior Life said...

Yes, unfortunately, Cottage Living's been gone for a while. I remember how you loved that publication. Southern Accents just bit the dust last year. Au revoir mes amis! And, yes, thank goodness HB is still around. Hooray!

Susan said...

I might cry if HB goes by the wayside. I may have to go back to fashion mags and I am far too old to wear the nonsense they display in those things these days. Thank you for posting. I do love reading. You are too good at this.