Death of LIFE

Did the caps give it away?

Time Inc. have announced that LIFE will cease. This news came to me via an interesting new blog MrMagazine.com. Why is Paris Match still roaring away when Picture Post and LIFE — arguably similar publications for the UK and the US markets — have bitten the dust (its the third time of dying for LIFE)?

Another new (for me) blog, magculture.com/blog/ takes me to Magazine Death Pool a register for last issues. The editor of this narco-blog has an exuberantly dyspeptic view of where we are:

Although many are still in denial, the golden age of magazines is over. Advertising is being sucked like a vacuum cleaner to the Internet and television. Newsstand sales are in freefall and there’s no sign of stopping. Junior would rather IM and download music than read a magazine or a newspaper. Time inc. is laying off and taking buyouts.

There are some magazines which simply have no excuse for existing anymore. Even if the world of publishing was as peachy as a Good Housekeeping cover, they just do not have a reason to live.

These new blogs (and this roving around the magazine graveyard) come via wanderings from Andrew Losowsky’s blog. We mentioned his new book yesterday. These magazine bloggers clearly have a keen interest in the design qualities of magazines and I suspect their interest in magazine graveyards is probably diagnostic, if not medical. Do magazines die primarily because their information-design, their visual-design and/or their usability-design is no longer suited to their markets? After all it was TV, not the internet or the web, that did for Picture Post and LIFE (at least the first time around). Magazines with strong design (visual/information/usability) will thrive with the web. One of my colleagues suggests that we offer to curate any major magazine that is bowing out of this world…… If it is a major magazine with an archive of PDFs we will do it for free (or rather for our share of the Google text ads).