The Predictable Demise of Scrapbooking Magazines

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Over the last year or so, I’ve noticed a recurring theme on the scrapbook message boards, a topic that keeps coming up for discussion: “The scrapbook magazines are really going downhill.” Here is a summary of the comments made on this and related subjects:

1. A year ago, the magazine had X number of pages and now it has less than half that.
2. This month, the magazine was comprised of 1/3 ads and only 2/3 content.
3. This issue is so thin! This magazine used to keep me interested for a couple hours, but now I get through it in a half-hour.
4. There are too many ads.
5. I LOVE to look at ads for new products; there aren’t enough ads.
6. I want to see more layouts, not articles and organizational ideas.
7. I want more articles and organizational ideas, not so many layouts.
8. Why is there so much digital?
9. How come there’s not more digital?
10. I love Ali Edwards, she’s amazing, so inspiring, wish they’d feature more of her!
11. I’m so tired of “life artists” and full-page photos of Scrap Celebs!
12. There is no such thing as a Scrap Celeb; we are all just scrapbookers.
13. I want nothing more in this world than to be published!
14. Why do they waste so many pages on store listings when we can get them off the internet?
15. What in the heck happened to all the store listings in the back?
16. I don’t buy magazines any more; I get plenty of layout ideas from blogs and galleries.
17. I don’t buy magazines any more; I’ve gone digital.
18. I don’t buy magazines any more; I can’t afford them.
19. I don’t subscribe to scrap magazines any more; I want them quicker so I buy them at the store.
20. I don’t buy that scrap mag anymore, ever since they changed the format.
21. I would buy that scrap mag if they would just change up their tired old format.
22. More of a ‘lifestyle magazine’? I want a scrapbooking magazine!
23. I love to read about scrapbooking, but can’t they ‘think outside the box,’ maybe tie in other subjects?
24. I’m so excited! A scrap magazine is going to publish the comment I submitted in answer to: “What signifies Spring to you?” OMG! I am SO excited. I can’t wait to get my copy!
25. I cannot BELIEVE they wasted 2 pages on “What signifies Spring to you?” I thought this was a scrapbooking magazine?
26. Only the best layouts belong on scrapbook magazine covers.
27. I get so mad when they use stock photos for the layouts on magazine covers!
28. Most of us are moms; they need to include family and event layouts.
29. I’m not a young mom; I’m a retired grandma; I’m a college student; I’m single with no kids; I’m male; I’m Jewish; I’m a breast cancer survivor; I travel a lot; I have a career…The magazines need to publish more pages for ME!
30. I like lumpy-bumpy pages; I like to alter things; scrapbooking is my art.
31. I prefer flat pages; I don’t alter, I just do layouts; scrapbooking is not art, it’s about preserving memories.
32. I love to see how they use all the new ‘product’ on layouts.
33. What’s with all the single photo layouts with all that ‘product’?
34. Lisa Bearnson is SO wonderful, I love her, I adore her, I look up to her, her family is adorable, she is so talented!
35. Lisa Bearnson is so fake, I met her and she was mean, she is so full of herself, why does she leave her stepdaughter out of her layouts?
36. I despise this magazine. I will not spend another red cent on it (posted on said magazine’s message board, that costs them loads of money to maintain, yet we can post there for free).
37. I can’t believe this magazine won’t let me advertise MY scrap business on their message board. That is so rude.
38. Magazine A sucks, I’ve switched to Magazine B (posted on Magazine A’s message board).
39. I shop for my scrapooking supplies at big box stores or online; who cares if the LSS’s go out of business? It’s not my job to support them.
40. What happened to all the LSS’s? They probably closed because of bad customer service.
41. How come so many scrapbooking companies are going out of business?
42. I love seeing layouts by Becky Higgins, Ali Edwards, Hall of Famers, Memory Makers Masters, Scrapbooker of the Year, Dream Team.
43. I’m so sick of seeing the same old ‘celebrity’ designers. They need to publish more newcomers.
44. I subscribe and got a great deal, only $2 per issue, and I should get my issue before the newsstands.
45. I pay newsstand price, so I should my copy before subscribers.

Okay, should I stop now? ‘Cuz I could go on like this for quite awhile.

My question is: Do you see what I see?

How in holy heck could the scrapbook magazines continue to stay profitable, continue to stay thick and full of content, continue to pay staff writers, continue to remain in business, and continue to attract advertisers…with customers like us? How can they be all things for all people? We are demanding, we’re fickle, we’re budget conscious, we’re going digital, we’re using 40% off coupons, we’re blogging, we’re sharing our own projects and writing our own articles, we’re trashing magazines on message boards…and we’re making it impossible for anything to happen but what IS happening. The scrapbook magazines are going downhill. I don’t question it, and I don’t find it shocking in the least bit.

I am not innocent. I’ve posted comments like above several times on various boards. I’ve cancelled all my scrapbook magazine subscriptions because I’m impatient to get my issues, realizing that subscriptions are the bread and butter of any scrapbooking magazine. I don’t only point the finger at “us,” I point the finger at ME.

I suggest we try to enjoy the remaining scrapbooking magazines while we can, for unless something changes, they will all be gone soon….

Your thoughts?

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12 Comments on The Predictable Demise of Scrapbooking Magazines

  1. scrappysuzz
    October 9, 2008 at 8:58 pm (6 years ago)

    I don’t know what I would have done when I first started scrapping without the magazines as a resource. I enjoy getting them in the mail, looking at them at the store; I even keep them in the car for long rides, car pool etc.. But after a while they do start to all look the same. I don’t really use them as a resource anymore, maybe occassional inspiration at the most. But I’d still buy one at the store and squeal like a piglet when I find one in my mailbox!!!!!

    Reply
  2. Dee
    October 10, 2008 at 5:13 am (6 years ago)

    very provocative topic, erika! read all the mb stuff but wanted to post here . . .

    i’m kind of letting my subs lapse – for many of the reasons you listed, of course:-) but i like scrappysuzz’s last line in particular — every time i get one, you’d think it was my first!!

    Reply
  3. Lauri {Scrap Attack}
    October 10, 2008 at 7:06 am (6 years ago)

    When I first started scrapbooking magazines were a must for ideas and motivation. Now, they are simply filled with tons of ads, the same old same old and as a traditional scrapbooker, I don’t like paying for a magazine that has now reverted to mostly digital layouts. Digital is fine, but it deserves a seperate magazine for those. When I signed up, I did not sign up for the digital – and most months, my magazines are not even cracked anymore. I am waiting for all of the subscriptions to expire.

    Reply
  4. Jingle
    October 10, 2008 at 7:11 am (6 years ago)

    So, here are my thoughts. I’ll try to keep it short. A. 1. People complain a lot, it’s what they do…particularly women. LOL! 2. MOST people never take any action on their complaints and they keep buying the same things and they keep doing the same things. This being the case…they may whine a lot about the mags, but they still buy them and the still read them.
    B. It’s like that in any industry…the science mags have message boards that have similar comments, the book mags get their whiners, and don’t even get me going on the trash mags….YIKES! BUT…there is always something out there for everyone…that is why the mags are in competition because they are grabbing the people who don’t like the other ones for whatever reason. Specific to scrapbooking….MM and CK are TOTALLY different magazines. Right now I get both. I plan to let one of the two expire because it doesn’t meet my needs. That being said…I plan to suggest it to a friend because I do think it would better meet her needs than the other one even though the other one is best for me. People…yes…even scrapbookers, are very different animals and we have different tastes, styles, and ideas, so we are attracted to different things. This is all very good, otherwise you would all be fighting me for my incredibly amazingly HOT husband! LOL! But, alas…you like some other man, who, while not equally as hot, seems to be the one that caught your attention! LOL! (Erika…I don’t even know what your hubby looks like! I’m totally just making an analogy here! LOL!)
    C. This industry constantly changes and evolves. It moves and it does it FAST! Some of us keep up and others of us don’t…just like the magazines! So…those of us who are on the trends and moving like lightening stick to those mags and those of us who are happy to just be getting our memories down and don’t feel the need to keep up with the trends go to the mags that do the same.
    D. I’m not going to get into the part where people are saying they don’t need to support their local stores. You do. We do. Not just scrapbook stores either. That’s all I’m saying on that one.
    E. Will the mags survive with the internet so chock-full of inspiration and wonderful at-the-moment ideas? YUP! Why? Because people love paper. Especially scrapbookers! LOL! We like to have that mag in the car with us just in case we get those couple of extra minutes. It sits on our desk at work ready to steal us away from the busy work of our day. It lies beside the bed for some late night inspiration to sleep on so we wake up energized and ready to create in the morning. We love to touch the magazine. We will all use the internet, too! Some will use one more than the other, but it all has it’s place. Plus…while the iPhone can get online anywhere at anytime…have you seriously tried to browse the galleries and such with it? It’s tiny and kind of challenging! Trust me on this one! Not to mention slow as dirt if you aren’t in a WiFi area! LOL! And I’m a fan!!!

    So, in response to your question, yes. They can and they will survive. They will change. They will morph. And….they will continue to print advertisements! (Again…don’t get me going on that one because it’s a whole other really lengthy comment! LOL!) But, all in all, they are a niche in the scrapbooking market, but they are also a niche in the media market. As long as there are magazines and as long as there is scrapbooking…there will be scrapbooking magazines.

    Oh! And one more thing….if it weren’t for the mags what the HECK would your great aunt who knows nothing about scrapbooking but wants to give you a gift for “that stuff she likes to do” going to get you if not a subscription to a scrapbook mag! :-)

    Reply
  5. Erica Hettwer
    October 10, 2008 at 8:34 am (6 years ago)

    Everything that Jingle said. :D

    Reply
  6. Alina
    October 10, 2008 at 11:01 am (6 years ago)

    Very good article.

    I feel that people should and will voice their feelings on the products they buy. Sometimes this opinions will be completely contradictory between them, but that is to be expected, as we all have diferent interest.

    I feel absolutly no regrets about being vocal on my thoughs about SB magazines, I think that is my right, and that by it I’m hopefully making the magazine better.

    I DO agree that it is in poor taste to make not constructive criticism about a product on it’s message board.

    Again, magazines cotinue to sell (as some drop their subscribtion, other subscribe, c’est la vie), so I honestly don’t think they are going anywhere for now.

    Reply
  7. Marilyn
    October 10, 2008 at 12:17 pm (6 years ago)

    I have noticed all that too, I just try to ignore it. I try not to get upset about all those things I can’t do anything about. You are right, they can’t make everyone happy! I subscribe to all 3 “main” ck media mags and MM. I still want to get SBs etc. Even though the mags got smaller, added more ads, and added more “fluff”, I get tons of inspiration from the mags and am enjoying my investment.

    I can’t even begin to imagine how much money it takes to get every single issue out. The planning, the designing, collecting all the info, printing, mailing, etc. The man power alone, it probably costs them 1000s of dollars to get each issue out! Let’s not forget, they are in the business of making money. I just do with what I have and have to be thankful for the resources the mags give me, kwim? Don’t get me wrong, I still get tired of the same ads each month, but overall, in the end, I still get the inspiration.

    Jingle nailed it on the head at the beginning of her comment, women complain, A LOT!! lol! You can’t make everyone happy, they can just do the best they can! One more thought, maybe they have had to cut down, for the same reason so many LSSs are shutting down…the industry. I do think they will remain in business, and I KNOW the scrapbooking industry will remain active, there are too many of us addicted/obsessed with sbing to let it die.

    Reply
  8. CKReader
    October 10, 2008 at 6:03 pm (6 years ago)

    THIS, my friend, is why so many people love your blog! Great post!!

    I have but one question. What do the people that don’t visit blogs or websites say? I think we assume that the only people out there are people like ourselves. That they’re all online like we are. But you don’t have to be online to scrap or read scrapbook mags. There MUST be just as many offline scrappers, if not more, as online scrappers.

    Other than that, I’m inclined to agree with you.

    Reply
  9. Moira
    October 10, 2008 at 7:19 pm (6 years ago)

    I was blissfully ignorant of anything remotely related to the HoF scandal, MB meaness, what the initials KC or MK stood for, or anything to do with magazine complaints until last weekend. I accidentally stumbled across it all when I searched to find out why Lisa Brown had dropped the Caveney! I have to say it was a little disappointing to read the savagery on some blogs (one in particular, which I’m sure you’re aware of) regarding the whole debacle, so it was lovely today to read such a reasonable and pleasant discussion of the concerns on your blog. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  10. christina
    October 11, 2008 at 8:00 am (6 years ago)

    I just subscribed to memory makers. What else will I read while in the bathroom or at work? (where we are not allowed to browse the internet) and I don’t have an iphone on my cell, so no internet for me 8+ hours per day. so the magazines still serve a purpose for me!!!

    Reply
  11. Liana
    October 11, 2008 at 7:58 pm (6 years ago)

    I’m actually surprised I got to the bottom of your list insead of just skimming down to the bottom. It’s definitely sad to see. I now tend to skip those threads mainly bc I don’t believe half of them. I read CK, MM, SS and a few others but don’t subscribe. Not because I’m impatient, but because we’re trying to weed out the number of subscriptions we have in the house (I think we have over 10 right now and many don’t get read). The funny thing is that without the ads, there would be no magazine. I love my magazines (I keep all my papercrafting ones to browse back to for ideas) and I don’t know what I’d do without them!

    Reply
  12. Natalie
    October 12, 2008 at 12:25 pm (6 years ago)

    Ok – I get the 3 SB mags. Not the MM one though. Honestly, I still LOVE them. I love the way that CK ‘revised’ and came up with a new format – so much in fact that i renewed when i wasn’t going to previously.

    Maybe it is because I don’t have time to scrapbook daily (or even weekly). I fit in SOME scrapping on the weekends – if I’m lucky and try to attend a crop about once a month. but I LOVE getting my mags in the mail, marking my favorite pages, using it for inspiration and hording it for a few years!

    My biggest complaint – all 3 mags run practically the same articles. it is odd – almost like the ‘know’ what the other one is going to say, and then they try to outdo the story or something. Most of the above complaints don’t apply to me.

    I hope they never go away b/c then what will i “sneak” into the boring meetings at work that I’m required to go to just to say that I went yet AGAIN for my quarterly training??? i sit far in the back and hide my SB mag in my work notebook!

    Reply

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