Thursday, May 14, 2009

When Times Are Tough, Get Bigger, not Smaller

Good Housekeeping is going to increase the physical dimensions of its magazine (its trim size, in industry lingo) and increase its cover price, reports Folio:. Its January 2010 issue will be the first to sport a size of 8.25 x 10.875 inches (up from its current 7.875 x 10.5 inches). Cover price will increase 99 cents from $2.50 to $3.49 (still very cheap by magazine standards).

Bravo! I think one of the worst things magazines do is reduce, reduce, reduce in attempts to save money and cut costs. (ahem, Rolling Stone.) Magazines become thinner, smaller, print on cheaper paper, and include less content, and their costs still usually increase.

It's like the 1970s all over again. That was a decade in which everything got more expensive, smaller, and worse. Candy bars (okay, I was a child in the 1970s, so my perspective wasn't really on Rolling Stone and Good Housekeeping) got smaller and they cost more and there were fewer types of them.

Let's see innovation and growth instead. If I'm paying money for a magazine, I'll pay another dollar or two for one I want, if I get more for it. Since Playboy is reportedly considering raising prices, which I think is a good move, they should also consider increasing the trim size of the mag. After all, even many foreign editions of Playboy sport larger sizes (see the German edition, for example). Make the magazine stand out on the newsstands, and send the message that the magazine -- whatever magazine it is -- is confident enough in what it has to sell that it's willing to be bold, demand fair payment from customers, and escape from the path of ever-smaller, ever -thinner, ever-worse.

Good is better than worse.

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