Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Growth of Magazines..

Walk around anywhere in New York City, or any major city for that fact and you will stumble upon your fair share of magazine and newspaper stands. These stands have them all, the fashion magazines, the business magazines, the list goes on and on. Many people however don't realize where magazines were originated or even the history behind their favorite ones.

Magazines had a burst of popularity due to the use of cheap print and of the great transformations of the nineteenth century. even though these magazines were not the first,according to Starr " Although there had been some cheap magazines in the early 1800's , they had been short-lived failures" ( Starr p. 260). These magazines of the 1800's , mostly the major national ones were " relatively expensive at 35 cents a copy and had a limited readership concentrated in the more comfortable and conservative classes, in contrast to the newspapers' lower prices and more popular audience" ( Starr p.260). Due to these factors, the magazines died out too quickly before they had time to become popular.

According to Starr in 1885, prices were dropping on these magazines and he claims that some were down to 20 or 25 cents a copy, a big improvement from the 35 cent a copy price of the past. Prices dropped even more drastically in the 1890's to a dime or even a nickel.

The new published magazines were not only lower in price, but were of a better quality. Advances in printing as well as the invention of the photographs and other more advanced techniques helped to make the magazine more popular,, thus allowing it to better circulate throughout the country. Middle class citizens, who made up a large part of the population were now able to purchase and read these magazines. Advances in advertising and government policy regarding magazines also helped to allow these magazines to take of with great success. Now here is something to think about next time you stop to pick up a copy of your favorite periodical!


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