Magazines are publications, usually periodical publications, that are printed or electronically published (the online versions are called online magazines. Most publishers now provide digital verions of their print magazine titles through various online services for a fee.) They are generally published on a regular schedule and contain a variety of content. They are generally financed by advertising, by a purchase price, by prepaid subscriptions, or a combination of the three. At its root, the word "magazine" refers to a collection or storage location. In the case of written publication, it is a collection of written articles. This explains why magazine publications share the word root with gunpowder magazines, artillery magazines, firearms magazines, and, in various languages although not English, retail stores such as department stores.
By definition, a "magazine" paginates with each issue starting at page three, with the standard sizing being 8 3/8" x 10 7/8". However, in the technical sense a "journal" has continuous pagination throughout a volume. Thus Business Week, which starts each issue anew with page one, is a magazine, but the Journal of Business Communication, which starts each volume with the winter issue and continues the same sequence of pagination throughout the coterminous year, is a journal. Some professional or trade publications are also peer-reviewed, an example being the Journal of Accountancy. Academic or professional publications that are not peer-reviewed are generally professional magazines. The fact that a publication calls itself a "journal" does not make it a journal in the technical sense. The Wall Street Journal is actually a newspaper.
Magazines can be distributed through the mail, through sales by newsstands, bookstores, or other vendors, or through free distribution at selected pick-up locations. The subscription business models for distribution fall into three main categories.
In this model, the magazine is sold to readers for a price, either on a per-issue basis or by subscription, where an annual fee or monthly price is paid and issues are sent by post to readers. Paid circulation allows for defined readership statistics.
This means that there is no cover price and issues are given away, for example in street dispensers, airline in-flight magazines, or included with other products or publications. An example from the UK and Australia is TNT Magazine. Because this model involves giving issues away to unspecific populations, the statistics only entail the number of issues distributed, and not who reads them.
This is the model used by many trade magazines (industry-based periodicals) distributed only to qualifying readers, often for free and determined by some form of survey. This latter model was widely used before the rise of the World Wide Web and is still employed by some titles. For example, in the United Kingdom, a number of computer-industry magazines use this model, including Computer Weekly and Computing, and in finance, Waters Magazine. For the global media industry, an example would be VideoAge International.
The earliest example of magazines was Erbauliche Monaths Unterredungen, a literary and philosophy magazine, which was launched in 1663 in Germany. The Gentleman's Magazine, first published in 1731, in London was the first general-interest magazine. Edward Cave, who edited The Gentleman's Magazine under the pen name "Sylvanus Urban", was the first to use the term "magazine," on the analogy of a military storehouse.
In the mid 1800s monthly magazines gained popularity. They were general interest to begin, containing some news, vignettes, poems, history, political events, and social discussion. Unlike newspapers, they were more of a monthly record of current events along with entertaining stories, poems, and pictures. The first periodicals to branch out from news were Harper's and The Atlantic, which focused on fostering the arts. Both Harper's and the The Atlantic persist to this day, with Harper's being a cultural magazine and The Atlantic focusing mainly on world events. Early publications of Harper's even held famous works such as early publications of Moby Dick or famous events such as the laying of the world's first trans-Atlantic cable however the majority of early content was trickle down from British events. The oldest consumer magazine still in print is The Scots Magazine, which was first published in 1739, though multiple changes in ownership and gaps in publication totalling over 90 years weaken that claim. Lloyd's List was founded in Edward Lloyd's England coffee shop in 1734; it is still published as a daily business newspaper. Despite being among the first mass media outlets to venture from the bible, periodicals still remained rooted in the naturalized class and gender system held by European and American society.
Manufacturing of the early magazines were done via an archaic form of the printing press, using large hand engraved wood blocks for printing. When production of magazines increased, entire production lines were created to manufacture these wooden blocks.
The development of the magazines showed an increase in literary criticism and political debate, moving towards more opinionated pieces from the objective newspapers. The increased time between prints and the greater amount of space to write provided a forum for public arguments by scholars and critical observers.
The early periodical predecessors to magazines started to evolve to modern definition in the late 1800s. Works slowly became more specialized and the general discussion or cultural periodicals were forced to adapt to a consumer market which yearned for more localization of issues and events.
In 2011, 152 magazines ceased operations and in 2012, 82 magazines were closed down. Between the years of 2008 to 2015, Oxbridge communications announced that 227 magazines launched and 82 magazines closed in 2012 in North America. Furthermore, according to MediaFinder.com, 93 new magazines launched between the first six months of 2014 and just 30 closed. The category that produced new publications was "Regional interest", six new magazines were launched, including 12th & Broad and Craft Beer & Brewing. However, two magazines had to change their print schedules. Johnson Publishing's Jet stopped printing regular issues making the transition to digital format, however still print an annual print edition. Ladies Home Journal, stopped their monthly schedule and home delivery for subscribers to become a quarterly newsstand-only special interest publication.
- History of journalism
- Automobile magazines
- Boating magazines
- British boys' magazines
- Business magazines
- Computer magazines
- Customer magazines
- Fantasy fiction magazines
- Horror fiction magazines
- Humor magazines
- Inflight magazines
- Literary magazines
- Luxury magazines
- Music magazines
- News magazines
- Online magazines
- Pornographic magazines
- Pulp magazines
- Science fiction magazines
- Scientific journals
- Shelter magazines (home design and decorating)
- Sports magazines
- Sunday magazines
- Teen magazines
- Trade journals
- Trade magazines
- List of architecture magazines
- List of art magazines
- List of magazines by circulation
- List of 18th-century British periodicals
- List of fashion magazines
- List of health and fitness magazines
- List of men's magazines
- List of 19th-century British periodicals
- List of online magazine archives
- List of political magazines
- List of railroad-related periodicals
- List of satirical magazines
- List of science magazines
- List of travel magazines
- List of teen magazines
- List of women's magazines
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- Gardner, Jared. The Rise and Fall of Early American Magazine Culture. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2012. 224 pp. Reviewed by Edward Cahill Fordham University. Web.
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- Mott, Frank L. A History of American Magazines, 1865-1885. Cambridge, USA. Harvard University Press, 1938. Textbook.
- Christopher Zara (22 December 2012). "In Memoriam: Magazines We Lost In 2012". IBT. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
- "Number of magazine launches and closures in North America 2015 | Statistic". Statista. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
- Erik, Sass (July 1, 2014). "93 Magazines Launch in First Half of 2014". Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- "Jet Magazine to Shift to Digital Publishing Next Month | Johnson Publishing Company". www.johnsonpublishing.com. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
- Cohen, Noam (2014-04-24). "Ladies' Home Journal to Become a Quarterly". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
- "A Brief History of Magazines and Subscriptions". MagazineDeals.com.
- Angeletti, Norberto, and Alberto Oliva. Magazines That Make History: Their Origins, Development, and Influence (2004), covers Time, Der Spiegel, Life, Paris Match, National Geographic, Reader's Digest, ¡Hola!, and People
- Brooker, Peter, and Andrew Thacker, eds. The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines: Volume I: Britain and Ireland 1880-1955 (2009)
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- Haveman, Heather A. Magazines and the Making of America: Modernization, Community, and Print Culture, 1741-1860 (Princeton University Press, 2015)
- Mott, Frank Luther. A History of American Magazines (five volumes, 1930-1968), detailed coverage of all major magazines, 1741 to 1930.
- Summer, David E. The Magazine Century: American Magazines Since 1900 (Peter Lang Publishing; 2010) 242 pages. Examines the rapid growth of magazines throughout the 20th century and analyzes the form's current decline.
- Tebbel, John, and Mary Ellen Zuckerman. The Magazine in America, 1741-1990 (1991), popular history
- Wood, James P. Magazines in the United States (1971)
- Würgler, Andreas. National and Transnational News Distribution 1400–1800, European History Online, Mainz: Institute of European History (2010) retrieved: December 17, 2012.
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