Magazines are a really interesting subject. Before the Internet, they were the window into all sorts of interest. As a kid, I remember going to the public library and flipping through National Geographic , Sports Illustrated, and Field & Stream magazines. We didn’t subscribe to any of the, because mom said: ‘you’ve got a bike, and you’ve got a library card. Knock yourself out’. She was, and still is a good woman.
Today, the world of print media has changed dramatically. The Internet has given us direct access to anything and everything, so there aren’t ‘scoops’ anymore – specifically ones that would require an annual subscription. I’ve seen a lot of great magazines significantly dilute their content in an effort to protect subscribers, stay relevant to their advertisers, and ‘expand their base’. To be honest, it’s tiring. To me, magazines are supposed to be pure entertainment. I want to learn something about something that interests me. I want to learn about that subject, whether it be in stories, images, people, or gear.
I don’t care about a political view in a men’s magazine. At all. To me, that has a negative impact – in both my engagement, and more importantly: my wallet.
Not only that, but most magazines have a bad habit of giving away their content for free. Follow most magazines on social media, and you can read articles and see all the images before the magazines hit the stands. With that said, why would I spend $20-$40 a year for a hard copy? #MrsRCS argues that she does prefer reading a hard copy, but will buy issues at the grocery store rather than subscribe. I get the ‘clicks’ argument. The economics of advertising have changed…all about clicks. But where is the exclusivity?
Anyway…there are a few magazines that I love, and don’t have a problem writing a check every year. Some of these are new, some of them are old, but they all have my interest:
Gray’s Sporting Journal (7 Issues/year, $39.95): Gray’s is more of a journal than a magazine. It features National Geographic-level photography, outstanding writing, and artwork. Reading will have you planning your next shooting and fishing trip to Argentina, buying a new gun, or becoming a hunting dog art connoisseur. VERY low on advertising, too, which is a nice touch.
GQ Style (Quarterly, $50/year): This is the only #menswear magazine that I really pay any attention to. Since it is quarterly, the content doesn’t seem forced. All about men’s style. Great images, good subjects, and the guys that run it are pretty cool, too.
Double Gun Journal (Quarterly, $45.95/year): Absolutely outstanding. It’s like reading the Harvard Business Review but on guns, dogs, hunting, and outdoor lifestyle. The whole set up is outstanding. You’ll never throw any of the old issues away.
The Drake (Quarterly, $25/year): A really cool fly fishing magazine that has a global view, but a very Colorado feel. The price is ‘Seven Bucks’ an issue, or ‘$14 for bait fishermen’. That should tell you all you need to know.
Architecture Digest (Monthly, $34.99/year): In a perfect world, I would be an architect in my time way from the PGA Tour. I love architecture and real estate. AD has always done a good job – a great source of inspiration. I follow a few really good Buckhead real estate companies as well. A different type of inspiration.
Covey Rise (6 Issues/year, $59.99/year): The National Geographic of outdoor lifestyle. Great stories, amazing photography, and a genuine feel. The whole experience is top notch. Their ‘shop’ isn’t too shabby, either.
Garden & Gun (6 Issues/year, $19.99/year): I’ve got to hand it to G&G. they’ve done a good job righting the ship. After the initial shine wore off back in the 2011-12, the magazine seemed extremely forced, like they were fighting the NY influence vs. what made them great. The last few issues have been outstanding. After a non-subscriber for ~4 years, I’m back.
What are you reading these days?