How to Kill a Magazine

Peter and I have discovered there is one sure way to kill a magazine: get Peter a gift subscription to it.

This first happened many years ago, when we were new parents. I found out about a new parenting magazine, called Dad, directed to fathers. In my experience (back when I was still a new parent and thus read parenting magazines), most parenting magazines revolve around some perennial topics very obviously targeted at the mom, not the dad. So when I heard about this new magazine, which promised stories focusing on dad-ness, I sprung for a gift subscription for Peter.

Within 6 months, the magazine published its last issue, and reverted to a subscription to Parents magazine, which despite its implication that it is for both parents, largely features stories on lactating, the woes of a the working mom, and dealing with other moms.

That was the end of that until last Christmas, when I got Peter a magazine subscription to a new magazine called Best Life. It was a magazine featuring style and lifestyle tips for men who don’t have pressing needs for new pick-up lines and skinny jeans, but who still want to look great, actually have money to invest, and care to have, well, the best life.

I think Best Life lasted for all of 4 issues before it folded, and reverted to Men’s Health. That’s not too bad, but it’s not the same magazine.

Now, the Peter curse may seem just a coincidence, given that Dad and Best Life where new magazines, and such “start-ups” are often funded on a sink or swim basis.

But another magazine subscription Peter got last year (from his parents) was Gourmet magazine. During the course of the subscription, this 68-year-old venerable magazine folded. Now Peter gets Bon Appetit.

So, if you want to kill a magazine, you don’t need poor advertising, or incompetent editors: it’s simple! Just buy Peter a subscription, and it’ll be dead within 12 months.

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