Stupid Idea of the Magazine Publishers of America

Magazine Publishers Need to Encourage Keep-able MagazinesNew Magazines NEw life

As a magazine lover, I want to keep magazines. I hate to throw them away, even when reality hits and I realize that I can’t save them any longer. I cringe when I see libraries de-accession precious bound volumes of magazines, though I know that collectors love them, and they always find a home, even if the ads are ripped out and sold individually on eBay.

As a child, I saved all my magazines, but Boys Life, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, American Heritage, Cricket, National Geographic School Bulletin (why did they get rid of it?), National Geographic and TV Guide were the ones I treasured. At other times, I kept other magazines, depending on my stage in life.

Particularly good were early 1980s Playboys (lost in a trunk at my boarding school, with interviews with George Gilder and photos of Candy Loving!) as well as late 1980s editions of Harpers & Queen, Spy and Fairchild Publication’s excellent and super-snobby M, starring W. Rushton Chatsworth. Also keep-able was the Dorothy Kalins era at Metropolitan Home and the Phil Moffitt era at Esquire. Right now, I have a large stack of Country Life magazines I can’t part with, as well as the stack of Virginia Living magazines that I edited from 2002 to 2006. Right proud of that.

As the founding editor of Virginia Living, I took the old-school approach when we launched it. My publisher insisted on the best paper. My art director insisted on the best artwork. We demanded interesting stories that would be able to be read for years ahead. We made the magazines with perfect bindings. I can’t speak for all of the readers I talked to while editor, but many told me that they were afraid to throw the magazines out.

I don’t think I am odd. In the kitchen my wife has a stack of a neighbor’s Everyday Food from Martha Stewart. I know other people who keep Practical Fishkeeping, Coastal Living, Smithsonian and the old defunct Horizon. Town & Country is another keeper, as is any magazine that has recipes, like Southern Living.