I think I’m going to let my Bon Appetit magazine subscription go.
It doesn’t cost me much: $1 an issue. And shelf space, and reading time. I like the content (although I’m still annoyed about Conde Nast picking Bon Appetit over Gourmet).
I have a new issue on my desk. Open the front cover, and…there are four double spreads of ads. Then a brief features TOC. Then an ad. Then a slightly more thorough TOC. Then an ad. Then yet more TOC. Another ad. An advertisement for Bon Appetit online (Twitter, specifically). Then another ad. The Masthead. An ad. Editor’s letter. Ad. RSVP (reader-requested recipes) for a page. Ad. This continues until page 90: No two sequential pages are content; the magazine is over 50% direct advertising content. The well is full of content, with no direct ads (this is the travel issue, though, so plenty of indirect advertising here) until page 138. Solid ads until page 150. 151-152, content. 153, ad. 154, content. 155-157, ads. 158, recipe index occupies 1/3 of page, rest is ads and advertiser listings. 159-161, ads. 162, a short closing interview with Alain Ducasse. Inside back cover and back cover, ads.
One hundred and sixty-four pages:
TOC, Masthead, recipe index: 4 1/3 pages.
Content: 83 pages, many of which advertise restaurants, their owners, or products you might be interested in for purchase.
Ads: 77 2/3 pages (approximately).
I’ll read the issue. But I’m paying someone to let them advertise to me.
This is not content that I couldn’t meet or beat elsewhere, for free, on the Internet. The advertising in the magazine doesn’t fit me, as a consumer (the @#$% does Chanel No. 5 have to do with freaking cooking? It’s a $1-an-issue magazine: I am not the demographic.)
There are cooking magazines out there that would be worth subscribing to, say Lucky Peach, although I’d be far more likely to do it if I could get it autodelivered to my Kindle. But I am paying someone to let them advertise for me. It’s not that I mind the staff at Bon Appetit getting paid. But the ads-to-content ratio is such that I can guarantee, that over the course of a year, that I can save $12 worth of time and have a richer, more varied, more informative (even prettier) food-porn experience by cruising cooking blogs rather than flipping past ads and bullshit pseudocontent in that magazine.
It’s one of those obvious things that’s been coming for a long time. But I finally hit my tipping point. I’ve subscribed for…maybe six or seven years now, and to Gourmet before that. Ta-ta, Conde Nast. Have fun.