For the Love of Magazines

mags4 We are in the midst of such an interesting time in publishing. While it has been rather unsettling (especially for those working at the magazines) with the loss of so many great publications like House & Garden, Domino, and Gourmet it is also exciting to see the new frontiers that are being explored in our digital age (Hello, Lonny!). Publishers seem to be more in tune with consumers more than ever as consumer approval is absolutely critical. Personally, I still subscribe to what my husband thinks is an obscene number of magazines. From Vogue and InStyle to House Beautiful and ELLE DECOR, I love them all. However, just as with anything else, I like some magazines much more than others. While I appreciate all of the magazines I subscribe to and read, I know that some make my heart skip a beat when I see them in my mailbox while others don’t. There are some that I’ll see on the newsstand and want to buy right away, knowing full well that my issue is probably en route to my mailbox at that moment.


So, I want to know what makes some magazines resonate so much with readers while others will “just do”. It seems that everyone is thinking about this, what with the major editorial changes that recently went into effect, placing Stephen Drucker at Town & Country, Newell Turner at the helm of House Beautiful, and Dara Caponigro at Veranda.  I have loved the new direction that each of these magazines has taken and have only read positive remarks about all of them. When do you think it’s time to make a change in the direction of a magazine?


Which magazines do you subscribe to? What keeps you going back to some and not others? What things do you love to see and read about in your magazines and what could you do without? What do you think about the new crop of digital magazines like Lonny and the iPad versions of Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Glamour? While nothing will ever replace the experience of leisurely flipping through the glossy pages of a magazine, I really believe the digital editions are indicative of what’s to come. I am very interested in hearing your thoughts on the current status of magazines. This makes for such an interesting conversation. Don’t be shy! Do tell…

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  1. Paloma, this still remains to be a hot topic, and think its great you’re keeping it alive here. There’s so much speculation and news flying around; the final “product” is still not within our vision. I don’t believe print will be least not in my time.
    What I like most about the digital media is the interactivity it allows. There’s so much more power to share, and to link quickly to a featured product. This could be useful to readers, and even more valuable for advertisers and editorial participants. I think print magazines have something digital editions will never have, and that’s a longer shelf life of the stories, and their impact on our conciousness. Web reads just tend to be more fleeting, and (at least I) don’t read digital stories with as much attention as I do print. But that’s just me. I wonder if the next generation of readers will be wired to consume and absorb their information differently growing up with it….and I’ll be the old schooler exuding the virtues of the days of print media, saying the quintessential phrase, “when I was your age…”

  2. I’ve started to subscribe to a bunch of the Canadian shelter mags since Domino went under. Canadian House and Home, and Style at Home both have that vibe that I missed.

    It’s expensive to get them delivered to the states, but I download them through Zinio and read them online — then I can just save the pictures to my desktop instead of tearing sheets of paper and scanning them for my inspiration file!

  3. Although electronic versions are nice for traveling and such, nothing will replace the glossy pages of an actual magazine. Especially sine my favorite time to read a magazine is while enjoying a bubble bath and a glass of wine.

  4. I don’t subscribe to any magazines at the moment but if I did, I would subscribe to most of those that you listed. I was able to go into the office of Lonny a few weeks ago and was most interested in picking their brains about how things work over there. One of the most interesting things that I learned was that they do not use digital cameras to shoot their stories. Seems weird – online magazine so why not use digital? Save time and money. But rather, they choose to use film to encourage the connection between print magazines and online.


  5. I have quite a love for magazines. I especially love magazines from overseas like Vogue Living Australia and Living Etc. While I am obsessed with online magazines like Lonny, I don’t think I’ll ever tire of the paper version…there’s just something luxurious about a beautiful magazine printed on glossy paper!

  6. I love House Beautiful, Elle Decor and Veranda! They are the magazines that make my heart go pitter-patter when I see them on the newsstand. I don’t subscribe to them because somebody or seveal somebodies in the USPS, Canada Post or my local post office insist on reading them first, then finally delivering them to me dog-eared, dirty and wrinkled (and late).

    I’m anxiously waiting to see who takes over the helm of AD. I seldom buy the magazine right now because it has less to do with good design than with celebrity and/or extreme wealth. I have no interest in seeing pictures of the interiors of castles, manor houses, chateax, villas, houses that are larger than the street I live on, yachts and/or business jets.

    I think magazines should consider changing when (a) their readership drops off precipitously and/or (b) their content ceases to be relevant to 95% of the population.

  7. House Beautiful and Insyle and am getting Glamour b/c its a replacement for my Domino sub. But I gotta tell ya I love when Insyle comes I just flip right to the back to see which house they have featured. I love all the little home features they do. They did a fab one w/ silver masking tape on violet walls!

  8. I am a complete magazine junky!! The one’s I get every month are, Vogue, Veranda, Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Canadian House & Home, Southern Accents, InStyle, Architectural Digest, Traditional Home and Food & Wine is my newest favorite (blogged about it the other day). My mom gets More, Town & Country, Martha Stewart Living, Self and a few others that I read at her house!! I miss desperately Metropolitan Home and House and Garden!! I like having a magazine in hand better than reading them online; I can take them anywhere, easy to show clients ideas, I give clients copies to look at and mark for inspiration and I can pick one up anytime without a computer near. I do look at Lonny online and have been watching Canadian House & Home videos on their site (I blogged about this a few weeks ago as one of my newest obsessions!!) I hope the printed magazines stay around for awhile; I look forward to them each month and really enjoy reading them!!

  9. I think it’s so difficult for magazines to hit just the right note: Speaking to the readers instead of speaking above their heads, being friendly and with the flow, while offering that something extra, which will make them worth a read (or a subscription). My faves recently are Elle Decor and House Beautiful. I keep changing my mind about Living etc and the UK House & Garden.

  10. Interesting discussion. Nothing beats curling up in bed with your favourie magazine. I still believe that paper magazines are more user friendly but then again webbased magzines can have all kinds of cool features.

  11. It’s always a great day when there’s a magazine in the mailbox. I currently subscribe to Oprah, Cdn House & Home, Elle Decor (the BEST shelter mag these days), Vanity Fair, and Vogue (it was my Domino sub). I miss Domino terribly. I enjoy Lonny, but would enjoy it even more if I could flip through the pages, put it on my nightstand, store it on my bookshelf, and then go back and stare at a favorite page when the mood strikes me.

  12. Love the smart and compelling edit in World of Interiors, Australian Vogue Living and Veranda. Surprise fabulousness can be found in Traditional Home (check it out if you haven’t lately). And love reading House Beautiful, Lonny, LUXE Interiors and Design and the French Elle Decoration. Yummy. Can’t wait to see the evolution at Architectural Digest in its next editorial era – it is always a thrill when an esteemed dowager kicks up her heels. I think the Newell Turner Stephen Drucker moves at Hearst are genius – can’t wait to see what happens with T&C and you can already see Newell’s deft hand in the “Small is the new big.” issue. And I never miss an issue of Interior Design. Oprah also with real articles about real people doing great big things. No wonder she rules the world. Magazine fans, we have so much still to be grateful for!

  13. I adore magazines, but only buy subscriptions for others as gifts. I am fully on board with online magazines, and reading blogs sort of cured my prior print addiction. (A good thing for a gal on a budget) When magazines feature bloggers or unique projects I definitely am interested, as they tend to be repetitive at times. Furthermore, magazines don’t seem as cutting edge anymore because of monthly circulation. The magazine I would gladly pay an obscene subscription for? Gourmet. I went into shock when they went under. Good topic Paloma. Your blog is one I turn to for my design fix. It helps a gal like me, who lives on a strict budget.

  14. I’ve been more interested in Canadian and English interior design magazines lately. Love new direction of Town&Country and House beautiful and of course love Lonny. Architectural digest is a snore! (sorry) E-mags vs the real thing…hmm…can’t really stack ipads in the bathroom!

  15. I am a magazine junkie and used to subscribe to many magazines but have since let some of them lapse. My favorite magazines used to be Blueprint and Domino. I’m glad Lonny is available as it fills part of the void, but there is nothing like flipping through a print magazine. With online mags, I have a harder time reading the articles.

  16. I am a magazine addict — I passed by my regular newsstand in the subway today and the owner informed me that there were new issues out (since I had read everything new for August) and that I’m his number one customer. Oops! I think it’s time to commit to subscriptions rather than pay full price each month.

    My fashion favorites are InStyle (great high/low mix), Elle (love the editorials and the Auntie E. column), Marie Claire, Glamour, and Vogue (hate the layout but think the written content is superb).

    Shelter is tough because I feel like my options are more limited… Elle Decor, House Beautiful, and, well, it’s a pretty steep drop-off from there. I do love what I’ve seen from foreign publications like Living Etc. (UK) and Canadian House & Home but we ought to have equally great American publications. Perhaps that’s the void that Lonny and now Rue seek to fill!

  17. I have to admit I am a bit of a magazine junkie but in trying to cut back I currently still subscribe to House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Vanity Fair, New York Mag, Vogue, Costal Living, C, San Francisco Mag, Town & Country, Cal Home & Design and get 7 x 7 regularly. I just stopped AD and a few other home mags.
    When traveling I always stop at a news stand to buy a non sub mag for the ride.

  18. Hey Paloma,
    Im a Brazilian interior design student and also a new blogger too.
    I love your page ! Is so beautiful and inspiring to me.

    Well, I write my blog in portugues, but I put the google translation to everyone understand what I try to transmite there =)

    I love your last name Contreras. Like a very close friend.

    Bye bye, have a nice week

  19. while I enjoy sitting down with my computer in the morning with my cereal, it does not compare to holding the writing and photos in my hand. There is something thrilling about an unopened, unread glossy magazine that is just inviting you to read it and enjoy each and every page

  20. It’s like Christmas when I open the mail box and see my precious in the box. Magazines mean downtime for me. Grab a great “something to drink” and a comfy chair and sit a while and soak in the beauty. I love the tactile turning of the pages and the quickness of reading an actual magazine. I will admit that those I have viewed on my iPad are amazingly crisp, clear and beautiful…but nothing beats a glossy mag in real life. I read House Beautiful, Country Living, Traditional Home, and the occasional beauty mag. I will be looking into Lonny…thanks for the tip. Love you Blog P…Thanks for making it fresh daily.
    Share His Love,

  21. This is such an interesting discussion and I agree with you, one we’ll be having for a long time to come. My day job is in technology PR, so this is something I live day in and day out and that my agency does a TON of work on. I was lucky enough to chat with Grace Bonney of Design Sponge at a local event recently about this same topic. She too was curious about how this will all play out, but one thing that she did touch on was the timeliness of content. With the internet/blogs things happen so much more quickly and both print and online magazines are going to have to look really hard at finding a balance between original content and quick time to market. I personally love the feel of both books and magazines and hate to picture myself in 20 years time curled up on the couch with some form of a computer. I hope that print media finds a good way to evolve so we can all have both!

  22. I love magazines too! Nothing beats curling up on a beach chair by the ocean or the pool and digging in to a stack of glossy fashion or home decor magazines. For fashion I think that People Style Watch and Instyle are my favorites, and for home I would have to say that Coastal Living and House Beautiful are my faves! I also have found that many local home design magazines have beautiful interior ideas. I particulary like Fairfield County At Home, and Connecticut Cottages and Gardens. And of course, RIP Domino!

  23. Currently subscribe to Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, Garden & Gun, Veranda, New England Home, and Traditional Home but I may let the last one lapse. I’ll pick up World of Interiors or Cote Ouest at the book store if they look tempting. I do love Lonny, it highlights such varied and personalized environments. I don’t think I’d ever subscribe to any print shelter magazine online, because I’m on the computer during the day so often that pulling away from it with a magazine or book signifies “down time”. I do, howver, wish the print magazines were more like Lonny in that the resource information could be nearer the photographed items instead of hunting for it in the back of the magazine. I know, I know, the content is all about aesthetics, and should be presented in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Incidentally, I’ve purchased magazines on blog recommendations and read blogs on magazine recommendations.

  24. I have a sick obsession with magazines. I subscribe to house beautiful, elle decor, traditional home, oprah magazine, real simple, MS Living, InStyle, glamour, and I think that about covers it – but now I’m going to start looking into veranda, architectural digest, and town & country and see if I need to add them to the list. This probably seems crazy but otherwise I find myself spending a fortune on these in lines at grocery stores or at Borders.

    I always read Lonny and Nesting Newbies digitally as well.

    What keeps me hooked are images of beautiful homes/spaces as well as great event design and styling. I love seeing designs that are attainable to average people. I always enjoyed looking through Architectural digest and Veranda but their designs seemed so far out of reach to me and spaces that never felt lived in – I’m hoping with the big changes being made that these reads will start to reach a more realistic level.

    I love the interaction you can have with digital magazines but for me nothing will replace being able to curl up on the couch or in bed with a magazine and not my hard cold laptop – I feel the same way about books – I guess I am old fashioned in this sense.

    Sorry this was a lot of rambling but its a hot topic – especially for me and my forever growing collection of pretty subscriptions.

  25. Is it just me or has InStyle lost its touch? It seems to have become more about plugging beauty products and less about fashion, lifestyle, and celeb. homes…
    Also if we all miss Domino so desperately why cant some publisher revive it? Pretty Please!!!!