Hey now, what's this? Wasn't print publishing supposed to be long dead already, the body cold in the ground? Apparently not. January, in fact, was a rather robust month for the old ink-and-paper posse: 56 new magazines launched last month, compared to only 28 in January of 2009.
Yes, of those 56, only around 30% will be regularly recurring or monthly titles, but still: 56! That's as many consecutive games as Joe DiMaggio hit safely in, and everyone agrees that's a pretty impressive number. Also impressive and interesting is the fact that some of the new mags--among them Get Married, originally produced as getmarried.com and Hearst's paper version of the Delish site called Light & Delish--were born online and will now have physical editions, as well.
The oft-quoted head of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi, Samir Husni, notes that there is still a place for print, as the web experience is a vastly different one than thumbing through pages. He also said that with so many titles folding over the past couple of years, there are new opportunities, especially for niche titles, to fill the void.
For all the doom and gloom in the magazine industry, Husni says that the total number of new launches last year, 747, was the highest total in the past three years. As print publications begin to explore ways of charging for online content, and with the introduction of the mag-friendly iPad, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that many smart people still see viable businesses in something as old fashioned as reading material that arrives in your mailbox rather than your inbox. But more and more it seems clear that the successful periodicals of the future will be strong and vibrant brands across all platforms--including on the one Mr. Guggenheim brought to market long ago.