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.


Things That Inspire said...

I have been flirting with the idea of subscribing to Canadian House and Home for that my shelter magazine pile is dwindling, now is the time. Thanks for the gentle nudge.

Love your writing style!

Couture Carrie said...

Beautiful post and blog! It is especially hard to believe that Gourmet was shut down... poor Ruth Reichl!


annechovie said...

Excellent post. You have a brilliant way of articulating things clearly and gracefully while hitting the nail on the head! I am digging the foreign mags a lot now, too.


I think I'm in denial about all these mags shutting down. It's just so sad. Lonny is fabulous but all I could think as I was viewing it was "I wish I could flip through it with my hands."

Christina said...

so sad the demise of magazines. lonny is amazing and i'm loved every bit of it, but not being able to touch, feel, smell?, my favorite magazines makes me sad.


So sad about Gourmet. Love Ruth Reichl, love the photographs. Oh well, who needs to eat anyway. Abroad-don't forget Living Etc.-they are great, too!
and to Lonny, I say "go, Lonny, go", but I'll save the issues! Come back, economy-we miss you.

Kitty said...

I saw Lonny the day it dropped (if indeed magazines drop like records). It's a brilliant concept.

Averill said...

It IS all very depressing. I still can't get over the losses of Cottage Living and domino. I keep figuring someone will step up and fill their shoes and while House Beautiful is good and I adore Canadian House & Home...well, it just hasn't been the same. Lonny is a great step and it makes sense to be virtual in these times, but I still can't help but wish it were on paper. Something so lovely about flipping through a magazine on the sofa (and waiting for it anxiously to arrive in the mail).

Sanity Fair said...

Things That Inspire - thank you! I agree - support the mags!

Sanity Fair said...

Much appreciate Couture Carrie. Your fashion ideas blew me away - I'm going to be visiting your blog frequently!

Sanity Fair said...

Anne - thanks for the sweet words!

Sanity Fair said...

For everyone's comments on real vs. electronic, true confessions: I'm putting a brave face on. I would LOVE to get my hands on Lonny, literally. I so miss real paper. But - beggars can't be choosers. I look at this as a sign of good things to come. There's so much quality there - who knows? Maybe when the economy bounces back they can go to paper! Wouldn't that be technology backwards!

Samantha said...

So far I'm not minding that Lonny is online only. (Since I'm already awash with print magazines I can't bear to throw out.) Although I find myself missing a Lonny blog to go along with a Lonny mag.


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