In connection with my little hoarding problem, I also have a bookstore problem. My New Year’s Resolution this year was to stay out of bookstores, and I have done so, unless you count Posman Books in Grand Central Terminal that I have pretty much stayed out of, except for drifting in … oh, not very many times at all. Hardly ever! And also, I haven’t bought any books there, except for a couple. But not really! Mostly, I just go in to look at the latest issue of The Believer to see whether there are any more articles by WFMU DJ Dave Mandl about WFMU DJ Kenny G., and so far there have not been.
Posman Books does not have a terribly large selection of magazines anyway, not as large as any of the actual newsstands in Grand Central, so I’ve sort of lost track of What’s Going On In Magazines Today. Having been a magazine editor for a number of years, I still have a sad, schadenfreudish interest in the genre. So that’s why, when I got caught in the rain last Thursday down by Battery Park, I felt that it was all right for me to go into the big Barnes & Noble there to, you know, get a cup of coffee and look at some magazines; it was purely for research purposes, it wasn’t about buying books. Not at all.
Once inside, I got the very worst iced caffe latte I’ve ever had anywhere and began my investigation. Barnes & Noble has several shelves of magazines: How can there still be so many titles? Niche marketing, apparently. For instance, Glutes. Yes, Glutes, a “women’s fitness magazine” about making your butt look good. It turns out it’s not even a new magazine; Glutes has been around for years, apparently with the same headline on every cover, just changing the punctuation: “Your Best Butt Ever!” vs. “Your Best Butt … Ever.” Your best butt? Whatever. Check out Pole2Pole.
Okay, a magazine called Pole2Pole is about, what? Amundson, Scott, Shackleton …? No, it is a magazine about “the sport of pole fitness.” Pole fitness. Back in my day, it was just a sleazy way to supplement my college scholarship, but now it’s a sport. In fact, it is so very sportsy that there are several other magazines also devoted to pole fitness, such as Pole Spin and—my favorite—Vertical. And those are just the actual print periodicals; there are several other titles online.
A few years ago, I got a promotional copy of Garden and Gun, which I thought was pretty awesome: It’s like Martha Stewart with a Mossberg. It’s won a number of magazine-industry awards, and sells tons of advertising, but now I realize it is just the older, more aspirational cousin of Gun Girl and a slew of magazines featuring photos of women in bikinis holding assault rifles.
So the good news is, Print isn’t dead! It’s just turning into a Hooters franchise.