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My Magazine Subscriptions 2009

I’m not the only one left who subscribes to print magazines, right? I just renewed a bunch of subscriptions over the last month, so, in some ways, this is me making notes to myself.

The Wire. Weird thing. Their website was misbehaving, so I phoned them to renew my sub. And the woman taking my details paused and said: "Warren Ellis…the comics writer?" At which I kind of coughed. And she said, "Oh, it’s so nice to know you’re a reader." Weird.

Songlines. (Somehow I didn’t notice my subscription had lapsed, which is worrying and possibly indicative. I may have been lulled into a coma by coverage of Rodrigo y Gabriela.)

The Believer. Not sure if it’ll survive another subscription cycle, to be honest.

Fortean Times. Not what it was, but reliably entertaining. I’ve been reading FT since back when it was in 6.5×4.5-inch format, and will probably never shake the habit. Gets passed around a lot.

McSweeney’s counts as a magazine, doesn’t it? Well, it does now.

Arkitip. This is a new subscription – I closed a deal for a film treatment and treated myself.

I should re-up with The Economist, which I let slip a few years ago.

Coilhouse. I make the girls send me free copies because I’m a bastard.

I also get free copies of SFX because I write a column in it. I write a column for WIRED UK but apparently don’t get free copies of that. We live in times of austerity.

I let all my subscriptions to the sf magazines lapse. I don’t think I even opened the last copy of ASIMOV’S I received. I see from the website that INTERZONE has picked up, at least visually, and their rhetoric is setting the bar high for themselves. From the current issue’s editorial, at what appears to be a temporary link that won’t survive the month:

…the cultural landscape has never looked shallower or more derivative. But if, as Jung asserted, the psyche creates reality every day, the genuinely resonant and original stories we receive at Interzone constitute a shield against this barrage of mass media crap. Independent publishing must survive the current crisis: any hope our culture can escape its corrupting obsessions with money and celebrity lies in writers like ours, and readers like ours.

I seem to remember noting the other day that MagCloud now ships to the UK. Anyway, its shipping costs are very nice, better than Lulu’s in fact, and they take credit cards as well as PayPal. So I just ordered an issue of something pretty much at random, to see how these POD-magazines look…

So… seriously. I’m not the last print-magazine subscriber standing, am I?

Published in brainjuice


  1. Sam Sam

    I get Weird Tales and Fortean Times in print and Interzone via Fictionwise. I get the occasional F&SF and Asimovs from Fictionwise as well.

  2. I’ve let everything except Esquire and Rolling Stone lapse. I actually still have about six issues of the Believer from about two years ago piled up; when I noticed that I was never getting around to reading it, I didn’t bother to renew. There’s a part of me that still feels bad about that, since even if I never read it it deserves my support, but since I’m pretty sure I’ll lose my job in the next six months it’s hard to justify re-subscribing and spending $45. I may do it anyway; after all, my monthly spending on comics is equally hard to justify and I continue full steam ahead on that front.

  3. I was thinking about this just the other day. I used to subscribe to science mags, gaming mags, rocketry mags . . . these days, the only magazines I get are “benefits” mags, from the Sierra Club and the AAA (travel club) and a rocketry organization.

    Honestly, I mostly read them out of a sense of duty. More often the nature mag and the triple-A mag go right in the recycling bin.

    You know what I’d subscribe to in an instant? A resurrected Whole Earth Review.

  4. Denyer Denyer

    Just subscribed to Wired UK, which considering the reasonableness of the price (it’s about a week of lunchtime reading) makes it very poor that they haven’t factored in comp copies for columnists.

    Generally a quick skim of the local freebie papers is as much exposure to print media as I get.

  5. JT JT

    Your audience will have a higher subscription rate than average, thanks to a love of comic books.

    If you don’t think newspapers and magazines are dead yet, ask your kids (mine are < 9 years old). On a recent drive I pointed out the big building where the local paper was printed, and the first thing they said was how “bad it is to kill trees” which “gives the Earth oxygen”. Oh, and “paper makes your hands dirty”. They can barely read yet, but thanks to the Earth Day messages (propaganda?) they already see them as a Bad Thing.

    I think very soon it will all end up on oversized iPhones and the like. Yes, we will all bemoan how much we miss books, but that will make a nice niche market for printed products.

  6. Warren Ellis Warren Ellis

    My kid’s 13, lives on her phone, but also has two magazine subscriptions — some horse magazine, and the kids’ edition of National Geographic. Requested by her.

  7. I subscribed to F&SF Magazine in January. The first subscription I ever made to any kind of magazine, I think.

  8. I always entertain the thought of subscribing to magazines I read, but never do in the end. Usually if 3 consecutive issues have been good to great I think “yeah, it’ll be worth it”, but the nrs 4 and 6 are (imho) a waste of paper. So I go month my month. Usually design-oriented magazines. And now WIRED UK.

  9. Su Su

    The Believer does seem to be on the decline, with no real change even after they caved and started running a few ads. Unless those ads are directly attributable to them even still being around, now that I think about it. I’ve got a full run of it on a shelf, and the slow visible decrease in pagecount is kind of depressing. Maybe they’ll reach a stasis point. As long as the content stays decent, I suppose I can deal with smaller issues.

  10. Jim Jim

    I’m a real magazine reader still, subscribe to about 8, and of them all, I gotta say, New York Magazine is the best magazine being published today. Great features, world-class design, and a visceral emotional relationship with the greatest city on earth. It doesn’t matter of you live there or not. Plus it’s super-cheap: $20 for 46 issues. Subscribe here

    You’ll thank me later.


  11. Jen Jen

    I am quite fond of magazines – we have subs to seven here (some kid, some husband, some mine, etc). I also snag the occasional interesting find from Etsy (I suppose those are zines?) and (maybe also zines? I still am not so clear on the distinction).

  12. Ned Ned

    I get the Economist, because I like being reminded that their are more than 8 countries in the world and journalism still exists.

  13. HerodotusWept HerodotusWept

    I still have my Nat. Geo. subscription… Used to subscribe to about 10 mags in the science/politics/news realms (Mother Jones, New Scientist, Scientific American, Atlantic Monthly, Journal of Foreign Affairs, etc.) but over time I have let almost all of them lapse for various reasons. Can’t seem to allow myself to let go of the Geographic, however.

  14. Rey Rey

    I get Smithsonian (though it’s frequently all forensic-y because of that TV show fad from a few years ago — hope that fades). My girl got a few issues of Coilhouse, because her hairdresser recommended it. Buying back issues of Comic Book Artist is also a treat. I’d like to find more titles that are worth it, but always forget to look. We used to have a comprehensive periodicals/newsstand down the street, but they closed the nearby bridge for far too long, and the subsiding foot traffic doomed it to closure.

  15. Brent Brent

    I have to renew my subscriptions to The Wire and Fortean Times. Way too expensive to buy off the newsstands in the US (assuming I can find them)- and not exactly small change to subscribe to. But my world just feels incomplete without them.

  16. Andy Lawson Andy Lawson

    Well I bought the first issue of Wired UK and loved it. And now thanks to your post I have just remembered to subscribe to keep the cost low!

    This is the first print-magazine I have subscribed since Thundercats 15-20 years ago (okay so that was a comic).

  17. mrpeebles mrpeebles

    magazines will outlast newspapers by decades and decades — and hopefully comics will come along

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