Are you as scandalized by the cover price of magazines as I am? Oh, intellectually, I get it. Printing and postage costs are sky-high when you compare them to putting out digital editions of the same product. Subscriber numbers are probably down. But surely ad revenue has kept pace?
Whatever. The business case doesn’t really concern me. I’ll only buy magazines from the stand at Walmart where they have a buy three for ten dollars deal running on most titles. I have saved an incredible amount of money doing that and gotten some of those one-off magazines I don’t regularly read.
But sometimes It’s hard to find three worth buying, because, you see, I beat the cover price blues by subscribing. The subscription deal can be fifty percent or more off of the cover price, often with a free gift thrown in. I’ve scored two watches that way and I still cannot believe that I can wear them.
Normally I pay through the nose for a pure, stainless steel, designer watch. Anything of less quality makes my skin break out in a rash. Yet these two freebies don’t. They may not be my first choice style-wise because they are circular in shape while I prefer square or rectilinear ones, but, hey, free is free.
Now, I have to admit I have so many magazines coming into the house I can’t keep up with reading them all. There is a foot high pile on the side table near my living room chair and another bunch stacked in the bedroom. I read them if the content grabs me, or just absorb the visuals if the text is too much: too much like I’ve already seen, too of-the-moment hip, or too pretentious. And that can be true whether It’s a design magazine or a fashion one.
It seems that my tastes or the value I place on content is changing. I’ve actually torn out recipes; though I’m not quite sure why. I’ve saved those illustrated exercise routines that are guaranteed to whip me into shape. Right. More frequently I seem to be clipping pieces on health or financial planning.
Sometimes I just jot down a product name or a domain name to remind me to look for more information. Sometimes I even find the scrap of paper again to do it. And some publications are so superfluous to my real life on a farm near Andrew, Alberta that there isn’t a single take-away from an issue.
Then, if the magazine is still intact, I rip off my address label and take it to the nail salon so others can enjoy it. Goodness knows how I’ve spent many a happy hour there reading and being pampered. But the next batch should go to the walk in clinic. The wait is longer, there is no pampering happening, and the reading material is abysmal.
Magazines can educate and inspire or, if you let them, they can demoralize and defeat you. they’re cheap entertainment if you do it right, and the watches aren’t bad, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.