Monday, January 21, 2008
According to the New York Post, Wal-Mart is getting rid of more than 1,000 magazines at its stores. Supposedly, this is "sending yet another shock wave through the battered publishing industry." Is it really? Do that many people go to Wal-Mart to buy their magazines? Yes, Wal-Marts are well-visited, despite the anti-Wal-Mart movement and despair that Mom and Pop stores are being swallowed by the chain, but do that many people buy magazines at Wal-Mart rather than traditional bookstores? Some of the magazines that are being "purged" by Wal-Mart include Child, Celebrity Living, Elle Girl, Teen People, Suede, Shop Etc., Weekend and FHM, all magazines that, also according to the New York Post, have stopped publishing. Wait. FHM no longer publishes? Not that I really care. No, seriously, I don't. I just find it surprising that FHM has stop publishing. After a very brief search here, I see why: it's gone to an all-digital, online format. But that makes sense. These days, just about everything is online, including scantily-clad women, which I'm sure Chris Astridge or whomever runs FHM realizes. Back to the crux of the matter here, though: is this move causing a significant impact on the publishing industry, or are books and magazines (and even newspapers) now competing with so many other things that hold our attention? There are so many new and interesting things vying for our attention these days, most of them brought about by technological advances. I find it hard to believe that this move by Wal-Mart is or will be a crippling blow to the publishing industry. That blow had already been dealt the moment television became affordable to every household. Yet, I believe that no matter what new tech gadgets are unveiled, true book lovers will continue to support the publishing industry.