Conde-Nast has pulled the plug on Gourmet, not to mention a pair of bridal magazines and Cookie. Conde-Nast, the untouchable ginormous center of all things magazine, is shutting down four magazines. You may wonder why I give a shit, as the only one we subscribe to is Cookie, and that is mostly for my husband.
I care because I am a writer, and I am not particularly thrilled to watch the publishing industry go up in great big puffs of smoke. It is gasping for breath, people, because no one is buying and no one is advertising. People are still reading, but they are turning to the internet for their material. We’re all too busy getting the milk for free to buy the cow. Which is all well and good until the cows all die of starvation and then there’s no more decent milk and we’re all stuck drinking that Silk crap.
(Yes, I am fully aware I just compared writers to cows and then pummeled the metaphor into ground beef.)
And, yes, I am more likely to read Bitch than Vogue, but I’m damned glad that Vogue is there, not the least because they actually pay writers to produce. We need people who make their living writing, not just people who write for the sheer joy of it. Writing is seriously hard work, and if people cannot get some remuneration for it, they will most likely have to find another way to spend the hours between midnight and three AM.
I am tired of people acting like any fool can write and why the fuck should we pay for books when we can get them for free on the internet. I will continue to blog because I think there is a time and a place for this kind of exchange, but I do not think blogs replace newspapers. I do not think free e-books replace the kind with two covers and a publishing house behind them. I do not think e-zines replace the kind of magazines that makes me pretend I really need ten minutes in the bathroom because I just want to finish an article.
We are facing a crunch like everyone else. I’ve cut back my book buying. But I feel strongly that reading material ought to be very far down on the list of things to be curtailed because we can eat beans instead of meat, but there is no substitute for intellectual activity.
In my bathroom, we have Cookie, The Economist, The Pennsylvania Gazette, The New Yorker, Ms. Magazine, Hip Mama, and Brain, Child. Glamour sits on the table beside the glider where I nurse Lilah, which is why I know it is OK to wear florals in the wintertime this year, should I every decide to buy any new clothing. I take books out of the library, but I also try to fit buying them into my budget now and then. I value the work done by writers and editors, and I am willing to pay for it.