Look! I did your Christmas shopping for you

By Carlye Wisel

There will be a day when the freakishly large magazine section at Barnes & Noble dwindles. When the tiny voices who have risen up in glossy form to the back of the newsstand will no longer be able to exist. When your favorite mag, the one that makes checking the mail actually worth it, will cease to show up at your dorm doorstep. And the chance of that day occurring, my friends, is rapidly increasing.

As magazine titles fold daily and talented writers are getting cut based on money and little else, we’re witnessing change – a negative one. Almost every day, someone’s getting fired, something’s getting shut down or a well-known title slips through the cracks. Though magazines will never be fully eradicated, the age of the ‘zine boom is over.

Like survival of the fittest, the books on the exterior – often the funky, independent ones with a cult-like following – will die out. Well, that is, unless you step in and help by buying magazine subscriptions for your holiday presents.

Truly, it’s a win-win-win situation. Subscriptions are cheap – generally hovering around $10 and rarely more than $20 – so you won’t have to spend more than two Chipotle burritos’ worth on the present. And, if you throw in the extra $4 to buy the current newsstand issue, you’ll have something to gift wrap, add a card to and throw under the tree, next to the Hanukkah candles, or by whichever religious winter holiday symbol sits at the center of your celebration.

The recipient will not only get something they dig, but they will be able to enjoy it eleven more times. And, you’ll help out an industry grappling with diminishing ad dollars so that it can deliver cool, relevant news to readers.

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Whenever you purchase “small gifts” for the holidays, they’re usually a waste and typically suck. If you don’t want a loofah-lotion-soap combo or a money clip or a blank notebook or gourmet candy canes, then why would anyone else? This winter, you have an opportunity to show your little brother you support his lame interests, drop a hint to your mom that you’d like her to keep baking you those fantastic cookies or tell your roommate how to get a girl without having to say a word, simply by signing them up for a mag.

Before anyone panics and subscribes every man in their family to Nylon to save it from folding, let me reiterate: magazines are, and will always be around. But, while they likely won’t disappear forever, magazines won’t exist in the widespread manner we’re used to.

Take yellow journalism, the publishing industry’s booming format at the turn of the 20th century. With its salacious and exaggerated front page content, early papers tapped into a human interest – the dirt, gore and gossip surrounding others’ lives. Though we no longer wave papers in passerbys’ faces and shout out stories, sensationalism is still around. The only difference is now, grubby-faced boys peddling the dirt for pennies don’t sell these stories. These tales are on places like tabloid headlines in checkout lines, or on a celebrity gossip site run by a little fat man who Microsoft paints penises on actresses’ faces. After all, if the interest in others’ personal lives wasn’t so universal, then why is Facebook so successful?

Just like sensationalized newspapers, the format people will consume information through will continue to change, from blogs to websites to BlackBerrys to the Kindle. But, similar to how newspapers have never died out, glossies are here to stay.but not all of them. Don’t believe me? Within the past forty-eight hours, two publications have folded – New York Times’ sports mag Play and Cottage Living – and another load of staff has been let go at handfuls of places.

Yesterday, another 33 people were canned at T.V. Guide and three editors got the axe at Lucky. The industry can be helped, and you can give a gift that your friends, family and loved ones will actually want for the holidays.

Buy magazines.

Carlye is a senior in Journalism, and wants you to visit subscriptionsforchristmas.tumblr.com.