COLUMN: On the cover of Rolling Stone

From the Nelson Library's Anne DeGrace...

Most of us won’t get our picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone (as famously sung by Dr. Hook). But you can get your name on there—at least, at the Nelson Library. March is Magazine Sponsorship Month, and that means that dozens of magazine subscriptions are on the block. You, yes you (or your business or organization) can be on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine for a whole year for a mere $71.

While digital magazine circulation has soared—our own digital magazine database, Zinio, is well used by library members—print magazines continue to be a hot commodity at the Nelson Library and elsewhere. There is just something about brewing a nice cuppa something and settling down with Canadian Geographic or Canadian Living, Bike Magazine or Bon Appétit, or whatever your pleasure. Bottom line: in our screen-centered world, more and more of us have gained a new appreciation for print—and magazines are no exception.

The Library boasts nearly 100 periodical titles for adults, teens, and kids. We have 45 subscriptions paid or pending from local businesses, organizations and individuals, leaving a healthy number available for sponsorship: Artnews for adults and Ask for kids; Discover for adults and Discovery Girls for tweens; Organic Life for adults and Owl for kids. For teens, there’s Seventeen; for seniors: Zoomer. You can get the full list at nelsonlibrary.ca.

According to Ontario Media Development Corporation, which surveyed the Canadian magazine landscape last year, readership data confirms that print remains the preferred consumption platform in this country, stating that: “Seven out of 10 Canadians read a magazine (print or digital), with the largest share of Canadians consuming magazine media in print formats (57 per cent), a combination of digital and print (35 per cent), and digital exclusively (8 per cent).”

For those who foresaw the end of print, this will be interesting, but not surprising. There seems to be some pushback among readers who are demanding their paper books and magazines—often post-consumer recycled paper, but paper nonetheless. It’s about returning to the tactile, finding the fuller human experience in things. It’s evident in the resurgence of vinyl records and renewed interest in board games.

It’s about looking up from the pages of Time magazine at the breakfast table and saying to your son/daughter/mother/father/significant other: “Did you read this article about the low-down on high tech diets?” and then reading a telling paragraph aloud, passing it across the table as you reach for the jam, and having a human, face-to-face discussion about the topic. (That’s an actual article in the current issue, by the way).

It’s about running your fingers across the stunning images in Orion magazine, inserting yourself wishfully into the pages of Transworld Snowboarding (especially in summer), or Canoe and Kayak (especially in winter). The print versions of Popular Science and Popular Mechanics remain (wait for it) popular.

Beyond a doubt, the way we are reading, the way we are consuming information is changing. We’re oh-so-quick Googlers, Wikapedia-ers, and Siri-questioners. We so often get our info in sound-bites or intellectual fast-food-bytes that it’s easy to be lulled into thinking we understand something without reading the in-depth article or the well-considered editorial.

The Canadian magazine is an active industry, and it’s aiming higher, because in the face of challenges we all have to try harder. Magazines Canada will hold its first annual Magazine Grand Prix gala in April to distribute 26 awards to celebrate journalistic excellence in magazine media in both official languages, ensuring a healthy future of great magazines—in print and online—to read, share, and even sponsor at your library.

Anne DeGrace is the Adult Services Coordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week. For more information go to nelsonlibrary.ca.

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