I’ve been a casual reader of Urb since 1998 or so. Perhaps too casual, as I only just found out that the magazine suspended its print operations earlier this year due to… well, you name it. It’s a nasty time to be in publishing, even worse, I’m sure, if you’re paid to cover the one field that no one wants to go out and spend money on anymore. That’s a gross simplification, but one that enough people believe to actually matter. The potential readership for Urb should be at its highest in 2009, although I’m sure that blogs and other free media have dug into Urb‘s particular demographics just like they did with Harp and No Depression last year (and let’s not forget Newtype USA and PiQ on the anime side of the racks). Then again, a dip in readership (assuming that’s even the case at all) shouldn’t be enough to derail a magazine by itself. A much more likely culprit would be a drop in advertising revenue, which in this economy has been an all-too common condition for countless publications. Consider the kind of companies that mail their checks to Urb every month (record labels, clothing and shoe companies, other businesses dependent on their customers’ regular supply of disposable income) and it’s easy to see why the once-thriving stream of cash has slowed to a trickle for so many in the industry.
I should have known something was up when I noticed the same issue sitting on newsstands for several months. It’s now nearly 2010 and the summer issues still await purchase at Barnes and Noble (top) and Borders (below). Hopefully they find a good home soon.
My last music magazine subscription was The Wire and I’m probably still in some kind of debt for it to this day. Would love to support a worthy publication but towards the end of my (unrelated) Wired subscription, I wasn’t even unwrapping the issues as they piled up on my floor. I want to say that I really do love magazines, honestly, but I can’t pay for the ones I want most and can’t be bothered to keep up with the ones I actually can afford. Will 2010 bring us the long-anticipated subscription model for the digital age that actually works for both readers and publishers, or would I be better off anticipating my new electric car instead?