When I read the news that Glamour magazine (the UK version) was going to go "digital first" and only have two print issues per year, I felt a tad guilty. I, a once loyal reader, had recently decided to stop buying the magazine.
Since the magazine's launch in 2001, until earlier this year, I religiously bought every issue. I was so dedicated to the magazine I would make a point of going to a newsagents (or any shop that happened to sell magazines) for the sole purpose of buying Glamour on the day of the month that I knew it was likely to come out. But, over the past few months, I've increasingly felt too old for the magazine (I'm 37). Its cover featured stars I didn't recognise, its real-life articles were about women who were at least 10 years younger than me, and I generally struggled to find articles that were relevant to my life.
The nail in the coffin for me was last month's issue (October). It was labelled as the "insta issue" or something - the whole thing was apparently dedicated to Instagram. Not having an Instagram account and only the vaguest of notions of how the social media app works, I was not remotely interested in picking up the magazine. I realised that I was no longer part of the demographic Glamour was trying to attract (i.e. women in their 20s)
While I was a bit sad to say goodbye to something I used to look forward to reading every month, I did see it as "one of those things". I don't think you can expect a magazine you used to devour from cover to cover in your 20s to speak to you in the quite same way when you're in your mid to late 30s.
However that I now felt too old for Glamour was not the only reason I've stopped buying it. To be honest, I felt it was trying to hard too be something it's not - another version of Cosmopolitan. According to an article in the Press Gazette, Glamour was being "murdered on the newsstands" by Cosmo. After the latter dropped its cover price to a quid and started giving away free copies, the Press Gazette claims, Glamour (then priced £2) couldn't compete and subsequently also dropped its price to £1. I guessing the threat from Cosmo is also what led Glamour to switch its famous "handbag" format to a standard format.
In addition to the price and format changes, I also noticed a change in editorial tone - causing, I believe, Glamour to lose everything that made it unique. Its original selling point (I think) was that it was a mix of the fun and the serious - alongside one-page articles that you could read in a couple of minutes, there were more in-depth features that covered important issues that affected women's lives.
But, now it seems to be all fluff. I bought the latest issue (November) for the purposes of this blog post and I could only find one article that dealt with a serious issue - looking at miscarriage and how it's not talked about. Actually, to be frank, I found it somewhat hypocritical of Glamour to have a coverline that said "this must end" (referring to the silence surrounding miscarriage) but not to use the word "miscarriage" itself. Everything else, aside from a short piece by Miranda Hart about the death of her friend, seemed to be lightweight or focus on beauty/fashion. The reason I have never bought Cosmo is because I found it so unsubstantial (not exactly my area of expertise, but how many articles do women need on the perfect orgasm anyway?).
Given that it used to be the biggest selling women's magazine. Glamour's demise (the print version at least) could be seen as another blow for print. But, I am hopeful that print does still have a future (particularly, as I edit a print newspaper - albeit in an entirely different field from that of Glamour). There's an enjoyment I get from reading a print magazine that I just don't get when reading an article online (ironic for someone whose blog is called ebookadventures, I know). Ultimately, whether digital or print, a magazine has to offer something its rivals aren't - and I think, for me, Glamour stopped doing that a while ago.