Are magazines worth it?
July 22, 2011 11:45 AM   Subscribe

Is it worth it to subscribe to magazines anymore?

With the amount of content available on the web, do you find that your magazine subscriptions are worth having? I have been thinking about subscribing to a few of the magazines that are highly regarded around Meta such as The New Yorker, The Economist, Harper's, Scientific American and the like. But I find myself wondering what I would be gaining that I am not getting from different RSS feeds. Do you find that it is a worthwhile use of your money?

I am not talking about print editions, but online subscriptions that I would read on my iPad.
posted by Silvertree to Society & Culture (19 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I subscribe to the New Yorker in print. I probably only get to read 1 out of 3 fully, but still find it worth the expense. I mostly read when travelling - takeoff and landing when my iPad's gotta be turned off - so I'm not sure this is relevant for you.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 11:47 AM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

My household (my girlfriend and I, really, the dog is yet to order herself any magazines) subscribes to: the New Yorker, Game Informer, Cosmopolitan, American Scientist and Time Out New York.

I have not been bored in the bathroom for years.
posted by griphus at 11:57 AM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]

I subscribe to Wired, which includes the iPad edition for free along with the print edition. (The print edition ends up in my car or in the bathroom.)

I think it's well worth it. I can download the current issue and read it whether I have access to the internet or not. The iPad edition also has interactive navigation that makes it easier to read than the print edition. Otherwise it reads just like the print magazine: ads are on their own pages, it's easy to "flip" through, as opposed to a website. And it's only $10 - $12 for the year. A very small amount for the convenience offered.

I think the big question is, for the magazine you are interested in, does the iPad edition offer better navigation, more features, and a low enough price to be worthwhile? If the iPad edition is pretty much the same as the RSS feed, and you don't have any concerns about internet connectivity (my iPad is wifi only), then there may not be a compelling reason. I think the answer to that varies by publication and your own preferences.
posted by The Deej at 11:59 AM on July 22, 2011

Just to clarify the original question:

I am not talking about print editions, but online subscriptions that I would read on my iPad.
posted by The Deej at 12:01 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

(Also, I would never give up randomly paging through the magazine until I find something I like for a digital interface.)
posted by griphus at 12:01 PM on July 22, 2011

I love The New Yorker above all my other Ipad2 subscriptions, because of the extras like authors of short stories reading their stories to you, videos for things like film reviews, and photos. That magazine app is one of the best thought out, and I put up with the magazine's insistence on ALSO delivering a hard copy to my home because I love it so.

Also very good on Ipad2 though not as good as TNY: The Economist, which is exactly the same as print edition, Sports Illustrated, which also has extra photos and videos (kludgy to play) in the app, and, for a girly girl like me, Self, which has the same high level of app functionality as TNY, but less content.

I am sad to report that wonderful magazines like The Atlantic and National Geographic and Smithsonian either don't have Ipad apps or make you pay more to read them on your Ipad2. So I decline to read them that way, and just get a print subscription. Or I use my Zinio app to occasionally download an issue of something or other on my Ipad2.

Basically, check out the App store for magazines that interest you, and read the reviews closely. The quality of apps is very different from magazine to magazine.
posted by bearwife at 12:17 PM on July 22, 2011

I subscribe to several magazines on my Kindle (Smithsonian, National Geographic, Readers Digest, National Geographic Traveler) and enjoy having them. I send a lot of web articles and RSS feeds to my Kindle as well, but very much enjoy having the magazines also. Of course the Kindle is B/W so pics are not the same, but I do it for the text content. Do note that in many magazines, the online content is not the same, is not as complete, as the print content, so YMMV. And yes, it's worth spending my money (to me).
posted by batikrose at 12:27 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I subscribe to magazines to support them financially as well as because of the content.
posted by Jahaza at 12:29 PM on July 22, 2011 [6 favorites]

Having subscribed to both the new yorker and the economist I highly recommend and worth the expense. I prefer the iPad version of both: specially since the economist has a feature to hear every single text read aloud .

I'm constantly bringing up articles in both mags in causual conversation. A few fiction pieces in the new yorker has brought me to tears (and I'm not a bring to tears kinda person)

Do it.
posted by Bun Surnt at 12:48 PM on July 22, 2011

I wouldn't give up magazines (paper or electronic) for three reasons - depth of subject matter, focus of subject matter (you will pry Saveur out of my cold dead hands), and availability "offline", or without a web connection.
posted by ersatzkat at 12:52 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

I hate reading things online that I could read offline. eBooks are a nono in my world.

It really is up to your personality though, if you're the type that can't go a week without the smell of a paperback book, then you probably won't like an iPad or a Kindle.

I'll never give up my magazines in print :)
posted by zombieApoc at 1:14 PM on July 22, 2011

I read it online and in print, so I can't comment on the iPad version, but the one magazine I'm still happy to pay for is New Scientist.
posted by Corvid at 1:15 PM on July 22, 2011

The Economist iPad app is perfectly designed and has fantastic content. I would subscribe to many more magazines if they were as good as the Economist app.
posted by eisenkr at 1:21 PM on July 22, 2011

I've subscribed to The New Yorker, and I prefer the print edition.

Generally, I'm about 5-6 months behind the current issue because I read slowly, and I insist on reading them in chronological order. (It just GETS to me if they're out of order!) I actually prefer the print editions. But the online content is the same. I prefer something like The New Yorker to blogs and RSS feeds because of the quality and depth of the articles. And the fiction is really good at times.
posted by spinifex23 at 1:38 PM on July 22, 2011

I liked subscribing to magazines, but I quit renewing them because I only read them at the gym and got behind on reading them by uh, quite a lot. Mostly I just buy them individually at the store these days, making sure there's something in the issue I want to keep first.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:39 PM on July 22, 2011

Personal opinion: I haven't bought a magazine or a newspaper since around 1997. Seriously: not one. So my vote is a resounding "no". I just don't see the point. We have the internet, right? Why would you pay for text and pictures that you can get for free on the internet? I honestly do not get it and, as I say, have not got it since about 1997. YMMV.
posted by Decani at 2:43 PM on July 22, 2011

Also, the trees, maan. Think of the trees.
posted by Decani at 2:44 PM on July 22, 2011

I just can't read on the iPad. Not books and not magazines.

But - up until about a month and a half ago I'd not subscribed to a magazine in close to a decade. I get my kicks from RSS feeds, etc. But American Airlines reminded me that I was about to lose the use of about 12k miles so I used those miles to subscribe to a bunch of magazines on subjects I wouldn't ordinarily subscribe to blogs on in hopes that I'd gain a better sense of those subjects. Oh, and Wine Spectator. Cause apparently I have hopes of becoming a wine snob too.

So far I do enjoy being able to flip through a magazine in my idle moments. And I am getting a better understanding of some of those subjects. So in my opinion, yes but I can't say about the iPad aspect.
posted by FlamingBore at 2:54 PM on July 22, 2011

I got an Economist subscription as a gift this year, and as much as I love The Economist, as a busy grad student I basically haven't read the darn thing at all. I let it pile up for a few weeks, maybe read one short piece once every month or so, and then when they're piled up too high I throw them out. I think the most productive thing I've accomplished with The Economist this year was a craft project. I feel a lot of guilt about all this, which makes the whole thing even worse. I think I'd be better off (if it were my own money) just reading bits that happen to grab my interest online.

At the same time, I am very tempted by the New Yorker...
posted by naoko at 9:05 AM on July 24, 2011

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