print magazine readership

Print Magazine Readership: How Popular Are Printed Magazines?

Salmaan Ahmad

Salmaan Ahmad

August 21, 2023

Is print magazine readership still high? How often do you read printed magazine? Although magazines don’t hold the storied place in news coverage they once did, they are still a source of information and inspiration for many readers, helping keep print magazine readership high. While digital magazines have started to overtake them in readership, printed magazines are still going strong, and new magazines are launched every year.

You can find a magazine to cover every topic, hobby, or issue imaginable. How have magazines survived in the digital age? They’ve done so by giving people the content they want in attractive, high-quality packages to help keep print magazine readership high.

Print Magazine Readership Has a Long History

The word “magazine” comes from the French word magasin, which means storehouse or warehouse. A typical magazine issue is a storehouse of news, fiction, cartoons, illustration, photography, and graphics.

Magazines were once the premier source of news that went beyond the coverage available in newspapers. The first successful magazines in the U.S. were The American Magazine, published and sold by Benjamin Franklin, and The Ladies’ Magazine, headed by the first female editor in the country.

In the 20th century, magazines like Time, Look, Newsweek, the Saturday Evening Post, and Life ruled the newsstands. From the 1970s through the 1990s, fashion magazines boomed in popularity. Celebrity magazines, women’s magazines, and business magazines have always been popular.

Today, there are hundreds of print magazines available, and millions of people subscribe to them, keeping print magazine readership high.

Which Are the Most Popular Print Magazines?

There are more than 7,400 print magazines in the U.S. In 2022, the magazines with the most subscribers were the following:

  • AARP The Magazine: 22.68 million
  • Costco Connection: 15.68 million
  • American Mainstreet: 10 million
  • Better Homes and Gardens: 4 million
  • Southern Living: 3 million
  • People: 2.5 million
  • Good Housekeeping: 2.6 million
  • Reader’s Digest: 2.5 million
  • Real Simple: 2 million
  • U.S. Weekly: 1.9 million
  • National Geographic: 1.78 million

How Many People Read Printed Magazine Regularly?

A 2020 study found that there are 220 million regular magazine readers in the U.S. The average monthly audience of most popular magazines is more than 50 million print magazine readership.

In 2018, the Freeport Press conducted a survey of people’s magazine reading habits. The company found that among people who read printed magazine, they prefer printed content to digital magazines. Most of the people who read magazines and subscribed to them did not read the same magazines’ digital sites.

The survey also found that people who like magazines really like them—32% of magazine readers subscribed to one or two magazines, 17% subscribed to three or four, and 8% subscribed to 5 or more magazines, helping to keep print magazine readership high

Readers also spend time on printed content. The survey found that among people who read printed magazine, 35% spend 30 minutes or more reading an issue, and 18% spent around 60 minutes on each issue.

Print Magazine Readership: People Read for Their High Quality

Most print magazines have high standards for their content and design. Some, like National Geographic, Vogue, or Outdoor Photographer, are known for their impressively beautiful photos. Others, like Atlantic Monthly, the New Yorker, and Harper’s, are highly regarded for their outstanding journalism. Some magazines stand out by aiming for audiences that had been overlooked, like Cosmopolitan for young single women and Highlights for Children for young readers.

What these magazines and others share is a commitment to high quality. Whatever subject they cover, they do it with content that their readers want. They hire top-notch writers to create articles that draw readers in. They use professional photographers and illustrators to produce beautiful images, and they employ professional designers to create eye-catching layouts.

The layouts, pictures, fonts, and writing style are all different, but the result is the same. Magazines deliver high-quality content to their readers, and these readers know they can count on that same high quality month after month or week after week.

Print Magazine Readership: People Like for the Same Reasons They Prefer Printed Books

When you ask people why they enjoy magazines, some talk about the fact that only magazines deliver the in-depth coverage that they don’t get from newspapers and television news. Good magazines provide a mix of information, inspiration, pictures, and ideas for a better life. Some magazines offer practical guides, some provide compelling analyses, and others are there purely for entertainment. Readers know what to expect when they turn to a favorite magazine.

They enjoy the tactile experience

People who read printed magazines enjoy the tactile experiences of feeling the pages, smelling the ink, and turning the pages. The glossy pages, pictures, and absorbing content create a quiet sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that you don’t get from scrolling through a computer screen.

It’s absorbing to read printed magazines

Magazines allow you to focus without distractions. When you read one, you don’t have to worry about pop-up ads or distracting email alerts. You can sit and read quietly without worrying about digital distractions that disrupt your reading.

Reading magazines is relaxing, helping to increase print magazine readership. Everyone’s mental health benefits from some time spent away from work, worries, and the constant noise of the outside world. A magazine may be a brief escape, but it’s an important one.

Magazines are portable and accessible, impacting print magazine readership

Magazines are slender and easy to carry. You can find them in grocery stores, airport stores, bookstores, and libraries. It’s easy to find a magazine that matches your interests.

They’re popular among travelers because they are easy to take on an airplane or bus, and they don’t need batteries, electricity, or an internet connection. For these reasons, they are ideal for people in rural areas or those who don’t have television or internet.

They have beautiful pictures and graphics

The photos, illustrations, and graphics in a magazine are usually outstanding, helping to maintain print magazine readership. These visual images often convey facts or emotional aspects of the article being read. They enhance the reading experience. Some magazines have photographs or other graphics that can’t be translated to digital versions.

Magazines are an enjoyable escape for print magazine readership

Like printed books, print magazines offer an escape from an increasingly digital, blue-screen world. Many people say they read printed magazine to help them detox from time spent in front a computer screen all day. One respondent to a survey said they enjoyed getting mail that wasn’t junk mail or bills, and magazine subscriptions fulfilled that need.

Many people regard magazines as therapeutic and relaxing. Many magazine readers feel that time spent reading an absorbing article is time well spent.

Print Magazine Readership: Print Magazines Are Popular with Advertisers

Print magazines are still a good vehicle for advertising. Advertisers like them because they know that readers who engage with a magazine’s content are also more likely to engage with its ads. Some studies have found that the return on investment (ROI) of paid magazine advertising is higher than the ROI on digital display advertising.

There are several reasons for this. One is that if you create a successful magazine ad, you can run it repeatedly without having to change it. The same ad will work for months or even years with only occasional updating. The other is that readers seeing the same names and brands develop familiarity with them. Readers respond positively certain brands because they’ve seen the names in their favorite magazines.

Magazine Printing Has Become More Efficient

Magazines were once very expensive to produce. They still cost more than other forms of media, but they have become much more affordable. Technology has made it possible to print high-quality magazines more efficiently, and print runs take half the time they once did.

Do Magazines Have a Future?

According to industry analysts, magazines face stiff competition from online media. However, there are more magazine titles than ever now, and millions of people still turn to printed magazines and printed books. Magazines that continue to inform and inspire people will continue to have a bright future.

We hope you have enjoyed this article. Publishing Xpress helps magazines and other publishers create the high-quality content their readers expect. To learn more, contact us.

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