Sunday, December 16, 2007
CHRISTIAN PRERIODICALS STRUGGLE
As I prepare the new market guide each year, it concerns me that Christian periodicals seem to be struggling for survival. Each year the circulation drops on all but a handful of publications. In today's busy society, we all subscribe to fewer magazines because we don't have time to read them or because we get our information online or elsewhere. The struggle is also evident as we see them drop to fewer pages per issue, then less frequesnt publication (monthly to bimonthly, bimonthly to quarterly, etc.), and then from a print publication to an online one. This problem is not unique to Christian publications--all magazines face the same struggle. It's just that it is often more evident in Christian magazines since many don't accept advertising. Even those that take advertising seem to be depending more on paid advertising than on their subscriptions. I was just reading the January copy of Good Housekeeping and noticed that it seemed to have more ads than usual. Just out of curiosity I counted up how many pages were devoted entirely to ads. Out of 196 total pages in that issue, 94 were devoted to ads. That's roughly 49% of the magazine. Obviously we all can't subscribe to every magazine we like, but I've always suggested to writers that they subscribe to one or two they would like to write for every year--subscribing to new ones the next year. That way you not only help the publications stay in business, but best of all, you get an up-close look at what that magazine is all about.