Is There a Future for Print Art Magazines?

Art is something to be shared. It comes in wonderful creations that elicit all kinds of reactions from their observers. And best of all? It’s everywhere. You just need to look hard enough. Indeed, there is art in everything, and its value is seen in such ubiquity. You can find art in food, music, nature, and even other people. But, recently, the medium for sharing such works has changed. With the dawn of the digital era, art-related news outlets and the artworks themselves have moved to the online sphere, which raises the question: Where does this new medium leave traditional art magazines?

The End of the Print Era?

With the rapid acceleration of technology and the expansion of the digital world, traditional publishing companies have had to shift their gears to more digital-based services. This led to a decrease in print media sales across the board — from fiction to textbooks and, of course, magazines. The art magazine niche, in particular, has been dealt a heavy blow. In March 2019, F+W Media — publisher of well loved titles like The Artist’s Magazine, Pastel Journal, and Writer’s Digest — officially filed for bankruptcy. Their former CEO, Greg Osberg, explained that this was due to declining print sales. He believed that the best way to pay the company’s creditors was to fold and sell their assets. A company that was once a giant in the art niche has been laid to rest. Is this a foreshadowing for other traditional art magazine companies?

Not Quite

Surprisingly, magazine companies have seen an increase in print sales since the start of the pandemic. This can be attributed to many shoppers stocking up or “quarantine hoarding.” And while this may seem like a temporary phenomenon, print appears to be making a steady comeback amidst declarations that the medium is dead. Despite the exponential growth of the digital sphere, more and more people are choosing to start a magazine of their own, and for good reason. Though revenues have fallen in recent years, actual readership is increasing. The number of people reading print magazines has been on the rise since 2012, and in 2019, the number stood at 228.7 million. So, in spite of all the technological advances, it seems readers still appreciate leafing through the glossy (or matte) pages of a print magazine.

Tips for Art Magazine Publishers

With all the above in mind, it’s clear that there is a future for art magazines — and it’s there for the taking. If you’re thinking of starting your own art magazine, there are a couple of things you’ll need to consider to tap into the growing readership and thrive in today’s digital era. Here are some tips to take note of:

  1. Know your audience

Who are the people you want to reach — painters? Enthusiasts? Casual readers? Pinpoint the kinds of people you want to share your content with, then work around that. Your branding has to match their tastes, and do make sure that you put out quality content, so you can start building a loyal audience.

  1. Produce high-quality content, but don’t print more than you can sell

Printing magazines is expensive, so it’s best to limit your production to fit your budget. Some magazines have opted to release issues quarterly instead of monthly. By doing this, it can give you more leeway to create quality content, and it costs much less than a monthly series.

  1. Utilize the online medium

Whether you like it or not, the internet is here to stay, so use it to your advantage. Build an emailing list with readers who trust and enjoy your content. Set up a website and social media accounts to get the word out about your magazine. Bottom line: Exhaust all means to promote your printed content, because it’ll be worth it. Speaking of the online medium, check out our online magazine for more art-related articles!

While the print medium isn’t as strong as it used to be pre-internet, it would be unwise to write it off so hastily. E-readers and online magazines might be more convenient, but for many of us, nothing beats the feeling of a page under your fingertips.

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