So sad that I happened upon the magazine section last night at Rite Aid and thought to myself: Aw, I remember magazines!
When I moved into my first apartment on my own -- a $475/month efficiency in the Ravenel on 16th Street NW in Washington -- the thing that made me feel like an adult most was getting my own subscription to TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly. At my peak, I must have subscribed to 15 or 20 magazines at once, including those as well as Tennis, Details, GQ, Vanity Fair, Esquire, New York, Time Out, Genre, Instinct, Men's Fitness, The Advocate, Men's Health, Out, Premiere, Interview, Movieline and a few others. While I'm certainly nostalgic for that time -- there was nothing more exciting than digging into the latest issue of your favorite magazine, always hoping your copy arrived first so your friends didn't spoil anything for you -- I definitely wouldn't trade the immediate access to news we all have now via the Internet. Likewise, I wouldn't give up the ability to get (almost) every song in the world online just to experience the intoxicating feeling of tracking down a rare record once again. These days, Tennis is the only title that still arrives in the mail -- it's part of my lifetime USTA membership, and even it has been scaled back to 10 issues a year -- and I get Rolling Stone on my iPad. But even that is about to end: They changed the RS app from being a wonderful interactive experience that allowed you to preview songs they were writing about to merely the print edition on a tablet. (Way to chase a subscriber off, Mr. Wenner.) Truth be told, though, souping up digital versions of magazines doesn't seem to be keeping them alive anyway, and frankly I don't see any way to put this genie back in the bottle. Instead, the memories live on every time I go into a second-hand store or pull out the box of special issues I keep in my closet ... right next to my collection of 45s.