Thursday, February 21, 2013

Magazines Take A Dive, But It’s Just Gossip

Normally I cry over the decline of print sales – books, newspapers, magazines – but the latest numbers released regarding tabloids that feed off of paparazzi photos does not upset me too much. Maybe it is a positive sign that people are maturing and are finding a better way to spend their time than to read rumors about which celebrity picked their nose.

InTouch Weekly, Life & Style Weekly, and People saw double-digit drops in newsstand sales over the last half of 2012. Cosmo and Glamour, magazines that alternately empower women with making them feel inferior, each dropped double digits at the newsstands as well.

Reader's Digest, once the magazine with the highest circulation (over 15 million in 1990s) just filed for its second bankruptcy in four years. Times are tough for magazines.

Overall, magazines of any kind, fell 8.2% at the newsstand, which is alarming, but verified circulation was only down .3%, which means most people get their magazines either by subscription or via digital downloads. But if magazines are to grow, newsstand sales will need to stabilize and at least stop the bleeding. Otherwise the tabloids will start to feature their own deaths splashed across their covers.

It looks like the sagging numbers is leading Time, Inc. to sell off many of its big magazine properties. USA Today reported Meredith, a media company that owns other magazines, will buy People, InStyle, Real Simple and other titles for about three billion big ones.

But not all is gloomy. People actually showed an increase in paid and verified circulation by 1.9% in the second half of 2012. It has a weekly circulation of 3.64 million.

Time, Fortune, and SI will remain with Time, Inc.

Interview With Author Susan Swan

1.    Susan, what do you love about being a published author?  I love the chance to get out and talk to people about my work. I used to be a performance artist in the Seventies so I see the public promotional side of the writing life as another art form. It's a chance to discuss the ideas in my book, and hear the reactions of readers who might not take the time to write. For instance, in my new novel, The Western Light, I was exploring
the idea of heroes and moral courage. One of my readers gave me a good answer: heroes are people who give too much away.

2. What inspired you to write your new book? My father, a country doctor, was a hero to his community yet he neglected the emotional needs of his family. He was so busy delivering babies and pulling people out of burning cars, sometimes operating on the spot. He was seen as the epitome of goodness. I admired him to bits but his neglect left me hurt and angry. I wanted to write about that conflict.

3.What is it about? My new novel tells the story of Mary "Mouse" Bradford--protagonist of my bestselling The Wives of Bath--who is torn between her distant father and a charismatic ex-NHL hockey player who is sent to the local asylum for murdering his wife and child.

4. What were some challenges you overcame to write this book? I had written about Mouse Bradford in The Wives of Bath which tells the story about a clique of girls at a Toronto boarding school who don't want to grow up into women. It was made into the feature film Lost and Delirious.) starring Mischa Barton, Piper Parabo and Jessica Pare. This novel was published internationally and the film was shown in 34 countries. So Mouse Bradford appeared to be a known quantity and at first I assumed it would be easy to write in Mouse's voice. It was anything but. Mouse is a year younger in The Western Light and because she hasn't been hit by the teenager's hormonal yet, she is somewhat different from what she was in Wives. I had to discover what those differences were and build them into the story. As Carol Gilligan says, young women know who they are at 12 but adolescence sweeps them away from themselves and into the world of trying to please men. Mouse, in my new book, hasn't been swept away yet.

5. What do you think can be done to make the book publishing world stronger? We need big, reputable online forums that discuss current books. I mean really big browsing platforms where readers and writers can talk with each other and find books they might not necessarily discover through prize lists and reviews. Blogs help but they are written by just one person. Goodreads is a start but it's not enough. 

For more information, please consult:

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2013 ©

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