Summer 2007

Whistle-stop tour of a Jurassic park [extract]

The Last Magazine

Edited by David Renard
Designed by Frost Design
Universe Publishing USD45, Rizzoli £27.50

This is a strange, contradictory book: illuminating and infuriating in equal measure. And most of all, frustrating.

The world of magazines is a bubble about to burst. It means very little that three new consumer titles are launched every single day in the United States, to join the 6000 already in existence. The total number of copies sold remains static. In 25 years a mere ten per cent of paper-based magazines will survive.

Why? Well, we all know. The younger generations can concentrate on nothing unless it is moving and making a noise: ‘media-rich entertainment’. Advertising brands like the seemingly hard data on quality and quantity of viewer / readership that the internet provides, to help justify online ad spend. Most of all, material and distribution costs rise inexorably. Environmentally, too, magazines are bad news: up to 50 per cent of every issue of every magazine is pulped before a page is even turned. That is neither sustainable, nor desirable.

The Last Magazine is a great coffee-table romp through these dinosaurs of the age of Caxton, concentrating on the one species the contributors believe will survive the coming ice age, entirely hogging that small remaining market . . . [EXTRACT]

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