Not too long ago, Mondays were an important day for me. On late Monday afternoon, I'd stop by the local independent bookstore, Hawley-Cooke here in Louisville, and raid the newsstand. There would the "hot off the press" editions of Newsweek, Time, and U.S. News and World Report, along with others such as the New Yorker. Times have changed.
Most of the independent bookstores are gone or going (sadly, Hawley-Cooke is now a homogenized Borders chain outlet). And some are reporting the death of the magazine. After all, one reason no one's in any hurry to stock or to buy Time or Newsweek is because the news is "old" by the time it ships out in an era of round-the-clock "breaking news" on the Internet or cable TV.
Not so fast.
Phil Yancey in the latest Books and Culture argues that the print magazine still has a niche that can't be replaced by Internet "content." I tend to agree. This past weekend's New York Times Magazine features an article on why online content doesn't really give you the full story of what is communicated by a print magazine (I'm linking to it here, of course, in the online edition, by necessity; this is part of the problem for print media).
My friend Justin Taylor featured a "preview" of what magazines 2.0 might look like in the near future. I agree that this is probably accurate, a digital device that still allows, in the words of the developer, the "immersive" experience of words and pictures (I'm a Baptist; I like immersive experiences).
I'm not sure Time and Newsweek are going to make it over the long, long term, but there are some other publications we really shouldn't do without, at least for now. Over the next little bit, I'm going to post here on some magazines worth keeping.