Economics, Intrigue, and Dead Magazines

Southern Accents is no more this month. R.I.P., dear friend.

Start yourself off this morning with a cup of coffee (Louisiana chicory coffee, if you're lucky enough to get your manicured nails on some) and this article from Slate on publishing behemoth Conde Nast. Author Jack Shafer compares old "Conde Nasty" to the dying GM - drawing parallels between their economic models and ensuing failures: "both succeeded in segmenting the market with semi-independent divisions that were once unique and distinct but that have since faded into one, much to the confusion of consumers. Both have dramatically dumped once-valuable properties." Ouch. The truth hurts.

Gourmet: a foodie magazine so exclusive, no one will ever see it again.

Conde Nast is indeed shedding covers like so many gas-guzzling Chryslers. Dead in the water this week are Gourmet, Cookie, Modern Bride, and Elegant Bride. The pain! The eternal Why? (Ok - the last two magazines are pretty obvious.) Still, following hard upon the loss of Southern Accents, these changes are making October a month with no shelter. Southern Progress, the publisher of Southern Accents, lost another magazine earlier this year, Cottage Living. That's especially sad, because unlike the Detroit-like CD, Southern Progress is a thoughtful, can-do publisher based out of Birmingham, Alabama - and it also employs a lot of people.

I was mulling all this over today in my local bookstore, as I browsed the (now considerably smaller) home magazine section. To face the magazine stand is to face the growing horror that apparently our economy CAN continue to sustain no fewer than 9 solo titles on scrapbooking, such as Creative Scrapbooking. Do Creative Scrapbookers (note my respectful use of capitols) spend years in design school? Define the spaces where our most precious memories are created? Aspire to art? No. But maybe they'll at least hire all those poor home magazine employees and turn out some truly gorgeous ideas ("Hand-Painted Toile Accent Papers and Vintage French Silk Ribbons! How to Make YOUR Photographs Stand Out!").

Take it from me: this mag is FABULOUS - and there's nary a polar bear rug to be found.

But, there is a silver lining. Not the loss of talent, surely, but what that loss has forced us (me) to notice. As someone who has lived abroad, I have to say that America is GREAT at a lot of things (sanitation. freedom. food that is dead when you eat it.) but not always at noticing what else is going on other places - even on the same continent. The cavernous space opening on my local bookstore shelves has drawn my attention to new wonders: Canadian House and Home, British House and Garden, and Australian Vogue Living. What those Commonwealth folks can do!

It's a web page! It's a magazine! It's Lonny!

And finally, there's the completely new. People thinking outside the box - and outside the page. Enter gorgeous Lonny Magazine. It's exclusively online, and it's free. This is not a group of dabblers armed with MS Paint and extra time; it's a ground-breaker that comes fully-pixilated. Really, Lonny had me at hello (or, actually, "run by former Domino staffers") and the fresh and un-fussed result is delightful. Opening exclusives include Kate Towsend-Sharpe's home reveal, Eddie Ross' new digs, and (most heartening of all) ads! Big we-might-be-around-for-a-while-ads, like West Elm, Williams and Sonoma, and Benjamin Moore. So join the Lonny Facebook group, and READ THE MAGAZINE.

Lonny includes gorgeous rooms...

And great style!

Be still my heart! The good times are back online.

Images:;;; or at links provided.


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