Thursday, July 24, 2008

Challenge #6: Magazine Mayhem

As the August magazines started arriving in the mail, I decided to collect them in one pile to see just how many magazines I receive in one month. I was somewhat shockMagazine Subscriptions Piling Up is not Environmentally-friendlyed by the height of the pile, and I really can’t believe that I read that much. In fact, I doubt that I read the majority of the words contained on these pages, with the exception of the National Geographic magazine.

I noticed in last month's issue of Organic Gardening that they offer an online version of the subscription. This seems like a nice green alternative.

However, I like reading my magazines around the house, in a comfy chair, at the breakfast table, or outdoors. I also think it is important to unplug and to get away from my computer each day.

I will cancel at least three of these magazines at the end of their current subscriptions, maybe even 2 others that I don’t need to read, but come as part of a membership to MediaBistro. This year I had received, and accepted, an offer for four of these current subscriptions for a total of about $6. How could I pass up that bargain?

Which leads me to ask, why were they offering these bargains? Likely because the magazine and print industry is suffering, and they are hoping to gain a customer for next year. Newspapers have been losing print readers for at least 20 years, and were down 2.6% last year.

Consumer habits are changing, as the public continues to go online, reading short articles on-demand, and likely while at work. Just yesterday, the newspaper delivery man was canvassing the neighborhood to obtain subscriptions, lamenting that his route was down by 40%.

I also do a lot of online reading. I use Google Reader to follow several blogs, and I just started a free subscription to Good Magazine. It seems that I am receiving the same content as the print version, and the online subscription is free.

I looked into the online subscriptions for Organic Gardening and Kiplinger’s to see if I could save some paper. The subscriptions are offered through a company called Zinio, which basically seems like a reseller. I couldn’t find a way to transition my subscription into Zinio; I would basically have to buy a new subscription. I will do this when these expire or with any new magazines that I would like to try. Kiplinger’s was a good price, $12 for 12 issues, while OG was about $24.

Last week, I looked into an online-only subscription to Scientific American. It was actually more expensive than the print edition. This I do not understand, as I think printing would be more expensive than web layout and hosting, although you receive access to the archive. I am not going to subscribe at this time, not for that price.

For those subscriptions that I still receive, I will start taking the copies that I am done with to waiting rooms or sharing them with friends, so that at least they are read a few times before being recycled.

How many newspapers and magazines do you receive at home, and do you read the majority of the material? Where do you do most of your e-reading, at home or at work?

Canceling print subscriptions will REDUCE the demand on paper, chemicals such as ink, and the gas used by the post office. Sharing issues that I am done with will get that copy REUSED. I usually RECYCLE my old copies, but really, REDUCING is the best option here.

To anyone that has absolutely no printed reading materials coming into their mailbox or front stoop!
Extra BONUS POINTS to anyone who subscribes to the GreenUP Challenge blog!

I will be challenging my mailbox in the next few weeks- so stay tuned! I am forcing myself to keep each post to a very narrow topic, as each post requires action, from me and from you!


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Anonymous said...

I get US News & World Report and ESPN Magazine. The problem with going online is that I usually read them on the bus going home from work, but I guess I could adapt if I got electronic subscriptions.

I guess access to the archives has to be the reason why the e-version of Scientific American is more expensive than the print version. I think newspapers' experiences with charging for access to archives hasn't worked very well, so maybe they will abandon it and make the electronic subscription cheaper than the print subscription.

Anita K said...

Wigwam- I think that since you take public transportation to work, you can justify two print subscriptions!

Patricia said...

It's very hard to get online only. Most of the scientific stuff I get through the university, but there are a couple that I have personal subscriptions. I get Science as a member of AAAS, but end up reading it on the computer instead. Last time I checked I couldn't do on-line only. I got Nature because the university didn't subscribe to it, but now it does. I won't renew because the prices got really high with the Dollar/Euro exchange. I read it online anyway.

The only 2 other I get at home were free subscriptions to Bon Appetit and Parenting. I refused a bunch of "good deals" because I don't have time to read them anyway.

Anita K said...

I agree - it is hard to do online only - both for our eyes and because of the publishers. Esp Science and Nature- since I think they really want readers to see their ads in the print edition. But, science publishing has certainly become more green, even since we started grad school - now we can search for and download just the article we want, and if we only need a bit of info from it, we don't even need to print it out.

I think mainstream magazines will continue to increase their online presence and offerings over the next few years, particularly if consumers demand it.