2006 is Proving Lethal for Glossies at the Newsstand.

August 23, 2006 • Magazine

Wed, 2006-08-23 14:00

By Guest Editor Lesley Scott, Fashiontribes

It was a bad year, a very bad year…if you’re in the print business. According to a recent WWD, during the first six months of 2006, a tidal wave of red ink washed over the newsstands.

Many prominent fashion & lifestyle books took a beating,
racking up single & double-digit losses. Even the
She’s-SO-Jane new editrix, Brandon Holley, was unable
to glean the winning formula, despite tinkering with the
covers and even raising the price of the June/July issue
back to $2.49 from $1.99. Interestingly, editor-about-town Graydon Carter was doing something right, as Vanity Fair
posted a relatively whopping 17% gain, along with Elle
which showed a respectable
16% increase.

Losers at the Newsstand (% monthly decline):

• Jane 14.8% decline to 131,073
• O, The Oprah Magazine 19.5% to 891,000
• Men’s Journal 31.5% to 70,145
• Teen Vogue 1.9% to 218,777 (paid circulation down over 36% to 972,555)


• Vanity Fair 17% gain to 421,095
• Elle 16% to 320,516. (Their June issue featuring Mandy Moore on the cover sold a record 360,000 copies.)
• Martha Stewart Living 4.3% to 300,194
• Vogue 3.5% to 432,163.

One look at the circulation figures and it’s clear that a fundamental shift is occurring in the traditional fashion media. Before the days of the Internet, fashion and lifestyle magazines were the sole source of reliable information about fashion designers, beauty news, and wardrobe & lifestyle how-to advice. However, now that this same information is available within the space of a few mouse clicks, fashionistas need no longer look to the print books – so it’s small wonder they are turning their backs on traditional magazines. Instead, they are increasingly turning to online sources, such as blogs, not only for up-to-the-minute style info (print mags typically operate a Jurassic 4-6 months out) but most importantly, they are seeking advice. They want someone whose taste they trust to weed through the glut of information, edit it down and then serve up a short list. Essentially, the stylish public is in search of an editor with good taste to curate their lives for them.

Many big fashion & lifestyle blogs enjoy traffic that surpasses these titles’ sales on the newsstands, and in some cases, the magazine’s entire circulation – both newsstand & paid. So print will need to change…or die. Instead of clinging to their time-honored, but now outdated, role as source of information, they should leave the breaking news to online sources, and focus on helping readers understand how to wear, decorate with, and otherwise enjoy all the fabulous choices out there. (via WWD)

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