The more things changed for magazines in 2013, the more they stayed the same. Several celebrated major milestones, some went digital-only, and one notable title announced its intent to return to print.
Another year in the magazine industry marked another year of changes. More magazines went digital, more made adjustments because of the changing nature of magazine readership.
But as much as digital made its mark on magazines in 2013, several other developments should be taken as proof that those traditional print editions aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. So with 2014 just days away, we take a look back at some of the top headlines in the magazine industry of the past year.
1. More Magazines Go Digital: In 2013, we said goodbye to several magazines in their printed form, like Whole Living in January and PC World in August. Perhaps none made bigger headlines than Newsweek, which started the year in its new all-digital form. By the end of the year, Newsweek’s new ownership announced it would be bringing the print magazine back in early 2014.
2. Everyday Food Supplement Debuts: Martha Stewart’s beloved digest-sized food magazine, Everyday Food, became a digital casualty of late 2012. Fans were promised it would live on online and in quarterly supplements to Martha Stewart Living subscribers. The first debuted in February.
3. Magazines Get a Makeover: Every year, we can usually count on a few titles to make a few tweaks in their look, but it’s rarely happened to The Atlantic. In March, the monthly unveiled a bolder cover look, a redesigned table of contents, and more engaging layout changes. Reader’s Digest debuted its makeover with its January 2014 issue (already on newsstands), and Popular Science will follow suit in February 2014.
4. More Female Writers Get Recognition: The National Magazine Award nominations were kinder to female writers and reporters this year. Half of the field of 34 awards finalists were women, compared to just seven of 24 a year ago. Women received recognition in each of the 23 awards categories, after being shut out of four in 2012.
5. Magazine Readership Posts Solid Numbers: Digital has long been thought to spell the end of printed magazines, but numbers released in May showed a 3 percent increase in readership—helped in part because of tablet editions. Among the more popular genres are magazines devoted to diet, fitness, and mental well-being.
6. New York Magazine Awarded Cover of the Year: New York Magazine’s Hurricane Sandy cover image titled “The City and the Storm” took top honors in the American Society of Magazine Editors “Cover of the Year” contest. The post-Sandy image captured the city that never sleeps in half-darkness.
7. Multiple Magazines Mark Milestone Anniversaries: 2013 was a banner year for major celebrations for major magazines. National Geographic marked its 125th anniversary in October with a special issue devoted to photography. Time celebrated its 90th anniversary in February, while Esquire turned 80 in October. Just more proof of the longevity of the printed word.
8. Time Inc. Unveils New Subscription Model: Starting with PEOPLE magazine in September, Time Inc. debuted its new subscription packages. The publisher offers traditional print-only or digital-only subscriptions, or print-plus-digital offerings for readers who want a taste of both.
9. Nancy Gibbs Makes Magazine History: Her byline has been attached to well over 100 cover stories of the venerable newsweekly, but Nancy Gibbs made magazine history in September when she was named Time magazine’s first female managing editor.
10. New York Magazine Scales Back: The longtime weekly magazine that covered the Big Apple announced earlier this month that it would cut back to bi-weekly production. Citing the higher costs of production and diminishing print ad revenues, the magazine said it would scale back its printed issues and also invest in its online presence as its digital ad revenues continue to rise.