My work project for the last couple of days has been going through the magazine back files: putting them in order, rescuing mis-shelves, pulling really old issues that we need to get rid of to make more space. It's the kind of mindless busywork in the stacks that I like doing from time to time, both to share the load with the student workers, and because I find it oddly relaxing to put things in order like that -- creating order out of chaos. But this time, I'm finding it somewhat depressing, too, because I keep coming across magazines that have been shut down. Magazines start and fold all the time, and keeping track has always been part of the job, but it's been epidemic in recent months, and some really venerable titles, too: Gourmet and I.D. (a very cool design magazine) both come to mind. It seems like almost once a week, lately, that I head or a title shutting down or moving to online-only. Also, we had to cancel a bunch of titles for a lack of student readership lately, which is sad for different reasons. Although, it occurs to me, possibly related ones.
The death of publishing? Only time will tell.
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