The receipt you see to the right is the actual amount that I spent at Wal-Mart on 18 different magazines: $145.61. That’s an average of $8 per magazine. For the typical American looking to buy two of their favorites a week, adding an extra $16 to your grocery bill can cause you to sit those two inedible objects right back on the newsstands.
And we wonder why newsstand sales are declining.
Let’s take a look at what I got for my money, why I chose the issues I did and which ones were worth the price. In no particular order:
1. Oxygen 15 Minute Workouts – a very specialized magazine that focuses on 15 minute workouts and affirms the validity of such abbreviated physical activities by asserting to be ‘Your no-excuses guide to getting fit fast.’ And while I’m sure there is a great deal of truth in that statement…the price to actually find that out is $9.99. A fitness magazine that costs $10? I was expecting to see Richard Simmons leap from between the pages when I opened it, and lead me in a ‘Sweating to the Oldies’ workout.
2. Men’s Fitness – staying with the physical…the newsstand issue I bought at Wal-Mart is different from the subscriber’s issue. Different, in that it has an alternate cover and the paper the magazine is printed on is totally opposite, with the newsstand issue being much thicker and heavier than the subscriber’s copy. Why is that? Why are we not consistent between out subscribers and our single-copy sales as far as the quality of our product? Shouldn’t we be?
3. Rolling Stone – Special Collectors Edition – Bob Dylan – And of course, the title says it all. Legendary Bob Dylan is on the cover holding a harmonica a hair’s breadth away from his mouth, in preparation to play; all the while staring back at you with that brooding, stony glare that he is known for. And for $11.99 you can count yourself among the lucky ones who own this collector’s copy. His top 100 greatest songs are ranked and listed here, with Bono selecting “Like a Rolling Stone” as number one. It’s an up close and personal look at the man and his music as only RollingStone can put together. Worth every penny!
4. Nail It! – The premier issue of a magazine about nail trends – of the finger variety. A bi-monthly magazine devoted to the latest in nail polishes, decals, and tips. A must have for nail fashionistas everywhere. And for $5.99 you have to decide if it’s worthy or not. But it does prove niche publishing is vogue with the country, and in some cases profitable. It remains to be seen whether this one will be.
5. Chicken Dinners – from Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications – an entire magazine devoted to chicken. Whether it’s fried, skillet-prepared, baked, or brined with maple, this magazine will give you the recipe for preparing it. And it’ll only cost you $9.99 to read. Of course, I would imagine searching the net for few hours one may find the same chicken content for free. However, as experience makers folks, it seems OK to charge $10 for a magazine that shows us how to cook chicken.
9. Historical – the collector’s issue celebrating Black History Month – a vast array of information on many black leaders from yesterday and today. But for $7.99 an issue, you could probably get your history lesson a lot cheaper somewhere else.
10. Flea Market Style – A magazine that for $9.95 an issue will show you how to take rummage sale and junk sale items and turn them into usable, and in some cases, extraordinary novelties. Another niche publication for just that right audience; whether the price is right for those folks, will be up to them. I bought it because of an article about a home near by in Water Valley, Miss. produced by a former student of mine.
11. Matthew Mead’s Recycled Style – Another magazine where throwaways and no-longer used items are, this time, ‘recycled’ and used again. But to read the recycling revelations from the folks over at Oxmoor House, who bring you this magazine, you’re going to have to shell out $12.99.
12. Taylor Swift – Special Collector’s Edition – this magazine is just what the title indicates – a magazine devoted to country music sensation, Taylor Swift. And for $6.99 it can be in your collectible magazine stack today. But should it be at that price? Up to you. By the way the real name of the magazine, the smallest type on the cover, is Teen Party magazine.
14. Vanity Fair – Special Collector’s Edition – chock full of stylish information and a foldout cover that not only promotes the issue with content teasers as you unfold, but also shares space with a very imaginative Calvin Klein ad. And the magazine is almost 400 pages…all for only $4.99.
15. Cosmopolitan – the March issue with the matured version of teen sensation Miley Cyrus. The magazine sells for $3.99 and my Wal-Mart issue has a $1 off coupon taped to the cover. Of course, only redeemable at Wal-Mart, but nobody’s perfect. By the way I did not use my coupon. I needed to keep it so I can show it to y’all.
16. What to Eat Now – a niche effort from the good folks’ at TIME that has two different covers. One has a more vertical slant to it (no pun intended), the other a more horizontal. For folks who just can’t decide how they want to see vegetables and fruit displayed on a magazine cover. By the way, it’s 12.99.
18. Prevention – two different covers promoting getting back into shape by walking. The cover lines are exactly the same, other than the colors, but the pictures are totally different, yet, almost the same, other than the poses. Why the need for two different covers? It is a question I will need to address in a future blog. But for now I am happy to spend $3.99 to get cover 2 of the magazine.
Eighteen magazines for $145.61 …I think it’s a good thing for the magazine industry that Mr. Magazine™ and his love for magazines exist.
Next stop Kroger… the ticket, $95.68. Tomorrow is another day! Indeed the cost of “magazine living” is on the rise.