Magazine makeover madness! Desperate moves to keep subscription numbers up

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Magazines are done! Magazines are over! It's the apocalyptic cry we hear every day in the media world, but don't want to believe. Last year 525 magazines folded, and 2009 has already seen the loss of 47 titles, from Domino to Playgirl. Magazine ad sales were down 12% last year, and getting worse at 17% down in the fourth quarter.

As advertisers shy away from low circulation magazines, the issues will keep getting thinner and thinner. (Have you ever seen a Vogue so thin as the February issue?) We don't want to believe the impending signs of doom, but we can't help but notice as magazines continue to scramble for business.

Just look at the latest promotion from Conde Nast's Glamour magazine, which "to celebrate their 70th anniversary" is offering a one year subscription for the all-time low price of $1.50, the price it was back in 1939 when they first started. Is it a clever promotion, or a ploy to up their subscription numbers? Either way, at less than half the cover price of one issue, it's a steal.

Last year I received an offer in the mail for a free year subscription to the New York Sun. An offer too good to be true? It was the last effort of a dying newspaper to show investors that their numbers were growing. A week later the newspaper folded, and I never saw one copy. Let's hope Glamour is really just celebrating its birthday.

For your $1.50 Glamour subscription, sign up here, but hurry, because the offer ends March 15th. And be careful to cancel after 12 months if you only want a one-year subscription. By signing up for the promotion, you'll also be signing up for Conde Nast's Automatic Renewal Feature. They'll send you a notice two months before your subscription is up, and if you fail to cancel, you'll be automatically charged for another year.
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