Wednesday, October 06, 2004


Big Bookstore carries a lot of periodicals. Maybe 800? Something like that. We've got everything from Action Pursuit Games to Zymurgy. You want cooking magazines? I can sell you magazines on gourmet cooking, "lite" cooking, low carb cooking (there are 5 or 6 of those now), Italian cooking, vegetarian cooking, chocolate making, cooking for diabetics, chiles, grilling, barbecuing and herbs. Maybe you're into crafts and hobbies. We've got magazines about paper crafts, tole painting, scrapbooking, carving waterfowl, general woodworking, cabinetry, beading, glassblowing, jewelry making, doll making, doll houses, teddy bears and at least a dozen magazines each for every type of needlecraft you can think of. There are two (2!) magazines about rubber stamping and two (2!) about machine shops. Do you know anybody who is so into rubber stamps or metal machining that they would actually read a magazine about it? Do you know anybody into rubber stamps or metal machining, period? Who has a fucking metal shop, I ask you?

I never cease to be amazed at the niche markets that magazines carve out for themselves. Do you collect things? Pens? Autographs? Watches? Baseball Cards? Postcards? Yes. There is a magazine about collecting postcards. I guess it has lots of pictures of...postcards. If you like electric trains, we have four magazines for you, including one devoted solely to outdoor or garden train sets - you know, the kind upon which you and your grandkids can ride. Because in addition to being crazy enough to build a train you can ride on in your backyard, you also want to read about other people who build trains in their backyards. I imagine there are lots of How To articles in this magazine in which backyard train conductors share tips on things like how to avoid running over my dog Rover with the Cocoa Puff Train.

Then there's this whole new category of superhip magazines whose purpose and intended audience are not discernable from the title, cover, OR contents pages: Wallpaper, Index, While You Were Sleeping, Flaunt, Tokion, Surface, Dazed and YRB. No fucking clue what these mags are about. I'm just not cool enough. If you figure it out, you let me know, m'kay?

Me? I'm a fash mag hag [™AbFab]. Oh, I throw the Atlantic Monthly and Harpers into the monthly mix so I don't seem like a completely vapid, fashion-obsessed moron to my cow-workers, but it's the appearance of the new Vogue or Marie Claire that makes my heart leap with joy. God, I love fashion magazines. (Sorry, Jude.) Who doesn't need another article about The Bag You Must Own Right Now?

I thought that every possible niche had been carved out by magazine publishers a couple months ago when Sole, the magazine for collectors of athletic shoes hit our racks. I understand the need for a niche magazine like Transgender Tapestry (which wins the Best Column Name award for "Ask Dr. GenderFixIt"). A good magazine that addresses the needs of its constituency can create a sense of community among its readership. But a magazine devoted to collecting the latest Nike Air Shox? I have one thing to say to that: What. The. Fuck.

I can honestly say, however, that as of tonight I have seen the niche magazine to end all niche magazines. It is called Conceive Magazine. The tagline is "celebrating the creation of families." The premiere issue of Conceive contains such articles and columns as "Boxers and Briefs," "Fertabulary" (fertility and vocabulary, get it?), and "How Fresh Are Your Eggs?" The best article, however, is one entitled "Brave New Babymaking". The article is divided into three sections: low tech, high tech and super high tech babymaking. You might be wondering what constitutes good advice on "low tech babymaking." Wonder no more! Conceive has the answer for you! "Start by having unprotected sex."

I was going to write more, but really, I just can't top that.


Blogger meateater said...

There are just a few things i have to say on this subject. #1 I think the the author of this blog (aka the love of my life) has a little too much time on her hands. I like to rant and rave as much as the next person but you have just linked the unlinkable link. how many links do you have in this blog. holy hell.

#2 what the fuck is wrong with people. I thought that people who buy books are one off the beem, but the people who are into the "niche" mags are on a whole other level of fucked up. They always want the most obscure mag and if that were not enough, they have to have last months issue. Right like we have nothing better to do but keep back issues of every amg every published. haven't you people ever heard of a library!

10:56 PM  
Blogger ereshkigal said...

Yeah, I did have a little too much time on my hands. But once I linked to one, I felt like I had to link to all of them. Anyway, think of it as a public service. Now when you and your spouse need advice on baby-making you know where to look.

12:02 AM  
Blogger Ministry of Cats said...

You make me laff, as always... BUT: I rubber stamp (rarely, but I do), and so do a fairly large number of people I know. And I just ordered a subscription to Rubber Stamper, one of maybe half a dozen rubber stamping/crafting magazines out there, for my Mom. She makes stunning cards using stamps and assorted paraphenalia.

(I also know folks who build remote control airplanes and rockets, so maybe I am just a freak :)

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where, where I ask you, is Minimum Wage--the mag for service industry workers who suffer untold indignities at the hands of spoiled young things looking for a pristine copy of last month's Architectural Digest?

6:47 PM  
Blogger ereshkigal said...

d00ds! We should start one! I buy Budget Living, but that's not about real budget living. That mag is more about living on 50K a year rather than 150K. What we need is a magazine about living on 20K a year. It would have articles like "Trapping Your Own Food", "25 Great New Recipes for Ramen", and "How To Repair Your Car with Duct Tape and Crazy Glue." Also, "Surgery You Can Perform on Yourself", "Decorating Your Dump from the Dump", and "Put Your Pet to Work for Extra $$$".

12:50 AM  
Blogger Bookseller said...

ok, DB, what you just posted about starting your own mag, that is absolutly AWESOME! lol. i couldnt agree with you more. well thought out. and im sure every bookseller in the nation would be a subscriber...

12:37 AM  
Blogger Misogoonie said...

This whole magazine niche phenomenon is called "de-massification."

Not to sound snobby or know-it-all. I just wanted to be proof that our education dollars ARE working and that I didn't get up at 6 am to commute to my junior college for that 9 am Mass Media class for NO reason....

11:50 PM  

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