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A Puzzling Decline in Print Periodicals - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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July 4th, 2014


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01:13 am - A Puzzling Decline in Print Periodicals
It's a widely accepted truism that the internet has been killing off newspapers, but I recently encountered an article stating (among other points) that the decline started earlier.
Gentzkow also points out that the popularity of newspapers had already significantly diminished between 1980 and 1995, well before the Internet age, and has dropped at roughly the same rate ever since.
This reminded me of another decline that began around the same time, the decline in sales of science fiction magazines. It's clear that all of the major SF magazines began a major and continual decline no later than 1992, which is well before reading SF online became a major thing (see graph here).

So, it seems that somewhere in the 1980s and the very beginning of the 90s, something, happened to both newspapers and SF magazines. Some of it is likely due to a gradual decline in reading for pleasure, but this decline is a lot less significant than the decline in newspaper or SF magazine sales. I can’t find 20+ year data for magazines, but what I could find doesn't look as significant. I don't have any answers, merely a question.

(9 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:alobar
Date:July 4th, 2014 09:31 am (UTC)
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For me, I stopped buying SF magazines when my eyes started going bad from old age.
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From:mrteufel
Date:July 4th, 2014 01:22 pm (UTC)
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If that were the general case, you'd think that it'd parallel the decline in "reading for pleasure". I know I read less, but it's due to the internet, oh, yeah, and my eyes. Computer text can adjust for ageing eyes.
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From:rjgrady
Date:July 4th, 2014 10:18 am (UTC)

for my part

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I think it has to do with the rise of mass-produced paperbacks, with established genre fiction choking out the periodical trade.
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From:heron61
Date:July 4th, 2014 08:49 pm (UTC)

Re: for my part

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Mass produced paperbacks were already a huge thing by the early 70s.
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From:james_nicoll
Date:July 7th, 2014 06:16 am (UTC)

Re: for my part

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Magazines as a whole had been declining for some time, though:

http://efanzines.com/EK/eI29/
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From:mrteufel
Date:July 4th, 2014 01:24 pm (UTC)
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Rise in video game playing? You could argue that games compete for the same brainscape as fiction. Escapism and immersion.
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From:james_nicoll
Date:July 4th, 2014 03:58 pm (UTC)
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The 1990s were when there was a huge wave of consolidation among magazine distributors. It hurt magazines and mid-list MMPKs (because it was easier just to stock best-sellers).
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From:heron61
Date:July 4th, 2014 08:48 pm (UTC)
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That makes a lot of sense, but doesn't explain the decline in newspapers.
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From:xuenay
Date:July 5th, 2014 08:21 am (UTC)
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Whoa. That's puzzling.

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