Paper or Digital?
January 2, 2012 3:39 PM   Subscribe

I"ve collected 1200+ magazines since 2005. The intention was to use them as reference when freelance writing for specific publications.

I'm not sure I need them anymore since many publications can be found online. Is there a reason I should keep them, and if not, what can I do with them besides sending them to a landfill?
posted by CollectiveMind to Writing & Language (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well. First find out which titles are available online and that you have access. Some can require a subscription for access.

Next, I am not sure. Some grade and high schools may want certain titles. Certain magazines can sell on ebay, mostly in full year bundles.
posted by caclwmr4 at 3:52 PM on January 2, 2012

Whatever you can't sell, you can give away to crafters. I've seen etsy-looking recycled magazine baskets for sale for ridiculous prices. People make all kinds of crafty things out of old magazines.
posted by headnsouth at 3:59 PM on January 2, 2012

You may have access now, but magazines are folding, there's many magazines no longer around. Assuming the information will actually be relevant and useful, relying on online access may not be a good idea.

This introduces an area that may not be so legal, but as far as many are concerned is completely moral. You've already paid for the right to view the content. There's nothing illegal about scanning the magazines to searchable PDFs, but that would be time consuming. Find PDFs (often not scans, so the quality is much better and you're not at the mercy of your OCR engine) and hold on to those.
posted by Brian Puccio at 4:06 PM on January 2, 2012

I've written for many national magazines over the years, including some of the biggest, and am finding that much of my work is not available online, or worse, that it once was and has now been somehow deleted or lost. I'd keep the hard copies if you can. Out of laziness I was keeping the entire magazines, but recently went through and just ripped out the relevant tear-sheets. But man, even that takes up a lot of space! I don't blame you for wanting to get rid of it.
FWIW, I've never used this stuff for anything, nor has anyone ever asked to see it.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 4:14 PM on January 2, 2012

If you do end up giving them away, clinics and doctors' rooms/surgeries of the free or sliding scale variety tend to have really poor magazine racks. Often they're particularly short on stuff men read (I think the receptionists bring in their own second hand magazines).
posted by Ahab at 5:48 PM on January 2, 2012

Honestly, there's no reason not to keep them. It probably won't help you with freelance work (most editors I know would probably be surprised but nonplussed if you brought them up), but magazine websites have a habit of completely rearranging and/or getting rid of their archives, especially if the magazine's in hard financial straits.

But if you must give them away, depending on what magazine it is and how common they are, have you considered certain libraries or archivists? You'd have to do research to find out who takes what, but it's definitely better than the dump.
posted by dekathelon at 8:10 PM on January 2, 2012

You could donate them to the troops. My husband and I picked a soldier off of the Any Soldier website and will be sending her magazines along with other things. I used to donate the the hospital close by--check with their volunteer services.
posted by linzy at 8:33 PM on January 2, 2012

It's not a question of paper vs electrons, it's a question of control of the archives. You want your own copy of anything you care about, be it paper, CD/DVD or a file on a hard drive. You never know when a pay wall might be erected.

Remember, also, live electronic archives can be edited. How do you know if that article from 1992 actually originally said what the archives on the magazine's website claims it said?
posted by krisjohn at 9:55 PM on January 2, 2012

Donate them on your local city random stuff website (like craigslist or gumtree). You could also give them to a charity who could sell them.

If you're worried about the information, put up an ad someplace and ask someone to scan them.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 12:03 AM on January 3, 2012

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