Like most other media, magazines seek to inform, persuade, and. entertain, their>’audiences and put before them – advertising messages of national, regional, state, and city scope. Magazines never appear more frequently than once a week; thus their writers and editors, although generally part of small staffs that must meet deadlines the same as other media personnel, often have more time to dig into issues and situations than do those on daily newspapers. Consequently they have a better opportunity to bring events into focus and interpret their meaning. Says Katharine Graham, chairman of the board of the Washington Post Company, which publishes Newsweek magazine
Magazines are in many ways the ideal medium for serious treatment of the major issues of our day. However much the
industry feels squeezed by soaring costs, the magazine still has certain luxuries. More lead time and perspective than the daily press, more permanence than broadcasting, more immediacy and wider readership than most books. It is no accident that long takeouts on major subjects in the daily press are called magazine pieces. It is no accident that some broadcasters describe some public affairs programmes as magazines of the air. Nor is it happenstance that people are more and more depending on news
magazines to give shape and substance to a week’s worth of headlines
Magazines are a channel of communication halfway between newspapers and books. Unlike newspapers or books, however, many of the most influential magazines are difficult or impossible to purchase at newsstands. With their colour printing and slick paper (in most cases), magazines have become a showplace for exciting graphics. Until the 19408 most consumer (general) magazines offered a diverse menu of both fiction and nonfiction articles and miscellany such as poetry and short humour selections. With television providing a heavy quotient of entertainment for the home, many magazines discovered a strong demand for nonfiction articles, their almost exclusive content today
There is another ‘basic difference between newspapers and magazines. Except for the Wall Street Journal and the zoned
editions of some metropolitan newspapers that reach specific neighbourhoods, a newspaper must appeal to an entire community and have a little of everything for almost everybody. Yet hundreds of successful magazines are designed for reading by such interest groups as computer operators, dentists, poultry farmers, and model railro~d fans. Therein lies the richness of diversity that makes the-magazine field so attractive to many editorial workers and to advertisers. The possibilities of advancement for a writer or editor who acquires specialized knowledge are greater than on most newspapers, although the number of editorial jobs on magazines is fewer.
Types of Magazines
Although all magazines share certain basic problems of production and distribution, their editorial content and advertising are of many- hues. Even trying to group them into categories becomes difficult because inevitably there is overlapping, and a few magazines almost defy classification.
Most magazines fall into the following general categories.
1. General Family interest magazines.
2. News Magazines.
3. Sophisticated writing quality magazines.
4. Quality magazines.
5. Opinion magazines.
6. Women’s interest magazines.
7. Men’s interest magazines.
8. Special interest magazines.
9. Friday or Sunday supplement magazines.
10. Retail store magazines and supplements.
11. The business press.
12. Company publications.
13. Desktop publishing.
The industrial revolution, which was responsible for most of the technological innovations of the mass .media, was the direct result of technical knowledge recorded and transmitted through .print ..Th(!’industrial revolution could not have occurred without -~the technical knowledge made posible by print, through its ability _to record, transmit, and augment what went on before
The categories of books include trade books, paperback books, textbooks, and professional books. Trade books are generalinterest
books sold in bookstores, They present a tremendous gamble; only 5 percent sell well enough to recover the investment made by the publisher. Paperbacks are primarily reprints of books that were originally published in hardcover, but as the paperback industry develops in stature, some .authors have found it advantageous to sell directly to a paperback company.
Unlike most trade books, textbooks can sell for many years. The markets are smaller but easier for the publisher to identify and reach. Revisions are published. every three to five years, and some textbooks continue to s~ll for six to eight editions. The last category ,ofbooks, called professional books, are written by specialists for other specialists to read
Book publishing has three primary functions: editorial, production, and marketing. The marketing of books has been refined in recent years, but it still includes distribution of complimentary copies to reviewers and various other strategies for getting books to the best-seller lists. One of the best ways to insure substantial sales is for an author who has a lively personality to be a guest on one of the popular television shows. Book clubs and serialization are also utilized by publishers
The major difference between mass-market paperbacks and hardcover books is their distribution. Paperbacks are treated essentially as magazines and are distributed by wholesalers, while hardbacks are sold primarily through bookstores and book clubs
Readership studies of The contradictory insights into the health of the book business. On the one hand, there are increases in the total number of books being sold and apparently read; on the other, apparent decreases in the numbers of young and elderly readers may pose a threat to the long term health of book publishing.
Books, traditionally the freest of the media, in terms of content, retain that freedom when published in hardcover and given limited distribution, but they face increasing public hostility when questionable content is widely circulated in paperback form. As book publishing becomes more and more market conscious, the essential libertarian-ism of the product may diminish
Despite widespread arguments concerning whether the book is a dying medium in this age of electronics, we garner from expert t~(simony and current policies that the medium is adjusting to changes in technology and will continue, although in one of several modified forms, to serve the needs of consumers who will expect individualized information, consumable upon demand.