The $12 Magazine–Say What?


No, that's not a misprint...

No, that’s not a misprint…

     I love magazines. ESPECIALLY magazines related to my various hobbies. Back in late 1990, I was freshly out of the U.S. Army and living in my parents’ basement. Oh yeah, I got that box checked on my Nerd Bucket List decades ago.

     One day, my father earnestly informed me that he needed to have a talk with me.  The seriousness of the look on his face had me convinced he was either going to tell me had cancer or was getting gender reassignment surgery.  I sat on the couch and he informed me that after careful observation of my lifestyle, he’d concluded (cue the dramatic music) that I was  “receiving too many periodicals.

     I remember being a bit puzzled, eventually asking, “Do what now?” and he repeated himself.  I then asked, “Do you mean ‘magazines‘?”  Yup.  He had been watching, and apparently, in his humble opinion, I was spending too much money on magazines.  I think I may have actually laughed in his face.  Or if not, I had to work realllyyyyyy hard to stifle it.  I mean, was that the first time in history that a child was berated for reading TOO much?

    At any rate, I only lived there for three months before, shall we say, “differences of opinion,” led me to seek out other living arrangements.  So while I appreciated the advice, I kept on reading magazines.  I figured it was a better habit than drugs or gambling.

     I’ve been subscribing to or buying magazines off the newsstand since I was about thirteen.  I was a charter subscriber to World War II magazine back in the 80’s and today, I still get about 15 or 16 different magazines a month.  My magazine Jones covers, modelling, gaming, science, guns, comic book history, military & aviation history, and probably a couple more that escape me.

     Now some of you technology minded nerds out there are probably saying “Dude, get a tablet and save a tree for Gawd’s sake!”  And up until recently, I’d have told you “No thanks, I like my hard copies just fine.” And while storing a bunch of magazines–you mean there are people who throw them away after they read them?–can be a handle, until recently, I’ve been perfectly content to amass my stacks of zines for future reference.

     However, it’s recently come to my attention that the people who publish many magazines are either high on Crack or paper & ink now contain massive quantities of atomized gold particles.

     If you’re like me, whenever you buy something like a book or magazine, you do the whole “cost/benefit” thing.  For me, I’ll buy a magazine all day for $5.99 or $6.99.  Anything over that and I start to carefully scrutinize an issue’s contents like Ebeneezer Scrooge on his bank statement. So, imagine my surprise (OK, I actually threw up in my mouth a little) when I picked up a copy of Military Illustrated Modeller and noticed the price tag of $11.99.

     And yes, I’ve been more or less paying that for the magazine over the last few months. Because I REALLY like the magazine.  But I’m not proud of it and picking it up actually causes me pain deep down in my innards.  I’ve had cashiers do a double take when they scan the price at the register on more than one occasion.

     But I think I may have turned the corner.  Just yesterday, I was at Barnes & Noble doing some last-minute Christmas shopping.  I swung by the magazine section and the newest issue of MIM was on the stand.  I picked it up, flipped through it, and put it back.  Maybe none of the content grabbed me, but really, I think it was that $11.99 price tag.  I just couldn’t justify that kind of cash for a magazine.  Cost > Benefit.

     Let me say I’m not picking on MIM.  Of all the modelling magazines out there, it is probably my favorite. Just not $12 worth of favorite. There’s also Military Modelling rocking along at $9.99.  Off the pull list as well.

     I imagine if I was talking to the publishers of these fine magazines, they’d tell me I don’t understand the high cost of publishing a glossy magazine in this day & age.  They’re all, incidentally, printed in the UK (which begs the question why there are so few American -made modelling magazines) and it costs money to get their products to America.  And they’re probably right.  I don’t have a lot of inside info on the magazine publishing business, let alone the same industry in Great Britain.  What I do know is, I ain’t paying $12 for a magazine anymore.

      The whole thing sounds alot like the never-ending gripe/debate/angst over the crazy prices for comic books these days.   But to beat a dead horse, it all comes down to cost vs. benefit and if these companies want to sell their “periodicals” (shout out to Pops), they’ve got to sell them for something less than my car payment.

     To insert a positive note here, not all UK modelling mags require financing.  One of my other favorites is Airfix’s Model World magazine which retails here for $7.99.  It’s jammed packed with great content for the plastic modeller and guess what, I’m buying it month after month.

     So, to wrap up, I’m gonna miss some of these fine periodicals, but at least I’ll be able to sleep at night.  And if there’s a bright side to the whole thing for me, it’s that I am now seriously considering getting a tablet and going digital for some of these magazines. Because I ain’t getting any younger and schlepping 60 lb magazine boxes from the bowels of my closet ain’t getting any easier.

Copyright 2012 It Came From The Nerd Cave