Magazines have circulated through America since 1741. But as the internet has grown, many magazines are either going digital or going out of business. For many companies, it’s cheaper to post articles online than it is to print copies.
If you’re a fan of physical magazines, here is bad news. Popular magazines–including Playboy, ESPN The Magazine, and Seventeen–are stopping all of their print production. You won’t be able to buy them at a newsstand in 2020. Keep reading to learn why these magazines are either going digital or ending.
Say Goodbye To ESPN’s Print Magazine
After 21 years of print, ESPN The Magazine has decided to go digital. In April 2019, the company announced that it would print its last issue in September. They may print special edition features in the future, but monthly articles are only available online.
“Our data shows the vast majority of readers already consume our print journalism on digital platforms, and this approach will maximize our reach and impact,” explained ESPN’s public statement. The change likely came with a few layoffs, although the company has not made that news public.
Nylon Now Works With Influencers
Nylon, a fashion magazine that began in 1999, abandoned print copies in 2017. That September, both fans and the employees suddenly heard the news, and the magazine’s 12-person print staff was laid off. Nylon now garners new readers by working with influencers on social media.
Marc Luzzatto, the magazine’s executive chairman, said that Nylon is rebranding its marketing to attract the new generation. “Nylon Studios and its hypercreative team have a deep understanding of our Millennial and Gen Z audience,” said Nylon‘s president, Jamie Elden.
Playboy Will Be Entirely Digital By 2021
In March 2020, Playboy announced that it would no longer offer printed copies after the spring of 2020. By 2021, the magazine will be entirely virtual. In a letter to the public, CEO Ben Kohn claimed that the decision wasn’t because of lower business; it was because “the Playboy brand is more successful than ever before.”
Kohn said that the company focuses on “meeting audiences where they are.” Because of its massive social media growth, Playboy has decided to focus on online publications. However, they will still print some special features and partnerships in the future.
Vogue Is Going Strong, But Teen Vogue Has Suffered
Teen Vogue, the teenager-directed child of Vogue, abandoned all print publications in November 2017. Years before, the New York Times reported that Teen Vogue had a massive dip in print readership. That, along with troubles with the parent company, converted the magazine to an online-only publication.
In 2016, the magazine’s editor-in-chief Amy Astley left the company for Architectural Digest. That same year, Teen Vogue scaled back to quarterly releases before finally ditching print. Astley claims that the magazine is “easier to do online” because of its teen audience and high cost to print.
Oprah’s Magazine Abandoned Print
After 20 years of print publications, Oprah’s magazine, O, is going online-only in 2020. Its parent company, Hearst, announced that the last printed version will release in December 2020. When asked why Oprah’s magazine is dropping its printed copies, Hearst replied that it’s the “natural next step.”
The magazine’s readership has declined by 23% throughout the COVID-19 quarantine. Meanwhile, O‘s online presence has only grown. Hearst aims to make O “more digitally centric” to adapt to the current fan base. In the meantime, they are expanding their marketing on social media.
Seventeen Magazine Is Now “Digital-First”
In December 2018, Seventeen magazine scaled back its print copies by adopting a “digital-first” business policy. The magazine had already dialed back on its print copies. In only six months, the printed copies decreased by 100,000.
While Seventeen‘s print copies didn’t sell well, its online videos skyrocketed. Viewership on sites like Snapchat increased by 323% between 2017 and 2018. For avid fans, print versions of special editions are still available at magazine stands. But if you want a Seventeen subscription, you need to go digital.
Cooking Light Merged With EatingWell
In November of 2018, Cooking Light announced that it would stop all print issues. The parent company, Meredith Corp., has other cooking magazines that still print, such as EatingWell. The year before, Meredith merged with its rival company, Time Inc. They laid off over 200 employees and made significant changes to the publications.
Since 1987, Cooking Light has released 11 printed copies throughout the year. By 2019, fans could only read six annual copies of Cooking Light online. However, by combining EatingWell and Cooking Light subscribers, Meredith Corp. managed to increase its overall reader base.
Brides Can No Longer Get Brides Magazine
After 85 years of business, Brides magazine announced the end of its print copies in May 2019. The parent company, Condé Nast, put the magazine up for sale in 2018. Neil Vogel, editor-in-chief of the company DotDash, bought the magazine and converted it to digital.
Vogel claimed that he bought Brides to make it digital and increase the reader base. “We are thrilled that Brides has been acquired by a strong digital content leader who will help continue to grow the brand’s unique voice and loyal audience,” said the executive director Lisa Goodman.
After 80 Years In Print, Glamour Went Digital
Glamour is one of the longest-running women’s magazines in America, having appeared in stores since 1939. When the company declared that it would be online-only in November 2018, thousands of fans mourned. Glamour released its last print issue in January 2019.
Editor-in-chief Samantha Barry said that they switched to digital because “that online schedule, for a Glamour audience, doesn’t make sense anymore. As with many Condé Nast magazines, Glamour‘s audience is mainly online. The magazine has expanded to video storytelling, professional photoshoots, and more frequent articles.
Computerworld Is Only On The Computer
After 47 years of releasing print copies, Computerworld went online-only in June 2014. Computerworld focuses on technology and tech businesses, so it’s only natural that they converted to digital copies. In the 2010s, print copies were only a small part of Computerworld‘s sales.
Editor-in-chief Scot Finnie said that the magazine followed “the natural evolution of the media industry.” Along with going digital, Computerworld redesigned their entire website in late 2014. The magazine is now easier to read and browse than ever before, as long as you’re okay reading articles online.
Jet Magazine Stopped Printing In 2014
Jet magazine has provided entertainment and culture news for the African American community since 1951. In May 2014, Jet announced that it would print its last issue in June. Thank the magazine’s parent company, Johnson Publishing.
Linda Johnson Rice, the chairman of Johnson Publishing, said that Jet is going digital to keep up with today’s fast pace news. “We are not saying goodbye to Jet; we are embracing the future as my father did in 1951 and taking it to the next level,” she said. You can read the magazine on your computer via their app.
Self Once Started A Movement; Now It’s Online Only
You may know Self as the magazine that introduced the pink ribbon symbol for breast cancer. Before 2017, you could buy a print copy of the magazine. The last print issues hit stores in February 2017, right before 20 staff members were laid off. Self is one of many online-only publications owned by Condé Nast.
Lucy Danziger, Self‘s former editor-in-chief, believes that the magazine’s own success hurt it. Bloggers and influencers have dominated much of the health and beauty market, leaving little room for printed magazines. Fortunately, Self seems to be thriving on online subscriptions.
After 87 Years, Family Circle Has Ended
Next up is a magazine that won’t be available online; it has ended. In December 2019, Family Circle released its last ever issue. Since 1932, Family Circle had been one of the “seven sisters” of women’s magazines. Despite having four million subscribers, the magazine shut down.
The change began in 2018 when Meredith Corp. took over Family Circle‘s parent company, Time Inc. Meredith claimed that they “doubled our presence in the women’s lifestyle category” online. They decided to end Family Circle to focus more on other high-selling brands.
Redbook Has Been Struggling Since 1990
Redbook is one of the “seven sisters” of women’s magazines that shaped post-World War II culture. But in January 2019, the publication stopped all print copies. According to the New York Times, Redbook has been struggling since 1990.
The parent company, Hearst Magazines, decided to eliminate print copies and give their editors more duties. For instance, the editors-in-chief of Men’s Health and Women’s Health now also work on Redbook. “Our teams are embracing cross-platform brand alignment…which benefit our audience, both consumer and commercial,” said Heart president Troy Young.
You Won’t Have To Drive Somewhere To Read Automobile
In December 2019, TEN Publishing announced that they would neutralize 19 of their 22 print magazines. One of their most popular is Automobile, which is now only available online. TEN claimed that they are “doubling-down on our best-in-class digital product experiences.”
Automobile announced on Twitter, “While TEN Publishing will no longer print Automobile magazine, MotorTrend Group will continue to offer our digital coverage.” Meanwhile, fans who were subscribed to the print version will now receive the same content on the web, but with more frequent article publications.
Ladies’ Home Journal: Ending One Of America’s Oldest Magazines
First published in 1883, Ladies’ Home Journal is one of America’s oldest magazines. But in 2014, the parent company, Meredith Inc., decided to end the publication after 131 years. According to NBC News, the magazine ended because of declining advertiser interest.
Despite Ladies’ Home Journal being one of America’s “seven sisters” magazines, its readership has declined. By 2014, the average reader was 57 years old. With few millennials reading, Meredith saw no point in continuing the publication. Articles will still be available on the Ladies’ Home website and some special editions will be offered in print.
You Can Only Find InformationWeek Online
Since 1985, InformationWeek has informed readers about technology and research. But the magazine entered turmoil during the 21st century. By 2013, InformationWeek had endured “over 28 terrifically turbulent years,” according to the magazine’s statement. However, the company has not released much information about its decision to go digital.
On June 24th, 2013, InformationWeek released its last print copy. Over 220,000 print subscribers had to switch to digital. But the company claimed that “it’s not a funeral.” As they focused on building their website, their readership has gradually increased.
Marie Claire: Another UK Publication Gone
The United Kingdom has reduced more print copies of magazines than the US has. In November 2019, women’s magazine Marie Claire stopped publishing copies there after 31 years of business. Thirty-five staff members were laid off when the magazine moved to the internet.
Marie Claire‘s parent company, TI Media, claims that they aim “to best serve the changing needs of its audience’s mobile-first, fast-paced, style-rich lifestyles.” The magazine has also been suffering; since 2017, their sold copies have declined by an average of 30,000 per issue.
Super Street Vanished, Along With 18 Other Magazines
In 2017, TEN Publishing merged with MotorTrend Group. MotorTrend focuses on video and digital publishing, and it pushed TEN towards online-only magazines. Hence, 19 magazines–including Super Street--converted to digital in 2019. Car fans will have to get their news updates on the web.
Super Street is best known for popularizing the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) car culture. In the past few years, the magazine’s social media has gained millions of followers. With such a large online presence, the need for printed copies seems obsolete.
InStyle Halted All Print Copies In The UK
Although it started in America, InStyle magazine has spread across the world. In the UK, the magazine halted all printed copies in 2016. “The fashion world is changing dramatically, the way our audience interacts with it is changing,” explained UK editor Charlotte Moore.
Time Inc. decided to reduce publications after several printed magazines took a hit to sales. Alex de Groote, a media analyst at Peel HuntPrinted, claimed that InStyle sold under 100,000 copies per month. Print versions of InStyle are still available to the US. But in other countries, you can only read articles online.