Thank you. Photo by William Murphy.
So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen
Across 58 issues and 28 months, The Magazine has published nearly 300 articles and almost 600,000 words. We feel pretty good about that. More than 100 reporters, essayists, cartoonists, illustrators, and photographers took part. This is a great body of work, and it will be available in the near future as a complete archive in ebook format: The Magazine: The Archives.
This is the last regularly scheduled issue of The Magazine. We began publication on October 11, 2012, as an experiment, and are finishing it on December 18, 2014, exhausted and informed. Thanks for coming along for the ride. Founder Marco Arment built it to see whether he could combine his interest in a sleek, lightweight reading experience with good, original content. He hired me as editor around Issue #2, and I bought the publication in May 2013.
We found an audience for a while, but limitations and expenses in custom-app and Web site development, coupled with issues in how Apple changed the Newsstand about a year after The Magazine debuted, kept our particular combination of stories and technology from thriving indefinitely. The experiment was a success, but it didn’t turn into a long-term business.
With the backing of readers and friends, we had a successful crowdfunding campaign to print 1,500 copies of a hardcover anthology. (We still have some left, and can ship copies immediately.) Our chums at Cotton Bureau made two T-shirts with us, and artists and friends Olivia Warnecke and Amy Crehore produced two glorious limited-edition art prints for the Kickstarter campaign.
There is a huge number of other people to thank, foremost among them Marco, for trusting me initially to work as his editor, and then structuring a financial arrangement that let me purchase the publication and try my best to keep it viable. Managing editor Brittany Shoot has been a rock beyond just her role in editing articles: she was a sounding board, developed story ideas, and helped bring in dozens of authors.
Scout Festa has proofread nearly every issue, and her gimlet eye has caught thousands of tiny details we otherwise would have missed. Wendy Katz pinch-hit for two recent issues, providing superb proofreading assistance. And a special shout-out to friend Chris Pepper, an avid reader always reporting the little stuff that crept through — always due to last-minute changes on my part!
We tested out ideas around partnership and readership with Boing Boing and Medium, and appreciate the time and consideration they took, particularly Jason Weisberger, Rob Beschizza, and Mark Frauenfelder at Boing Boing and Evan Hansen at Medium.
Our first-year anthology thanks a host of other people in depth, and I appreciate every one of you: those who created work for The Magazine; those who encouraged us and became patrons; those who subscribed; those who sent such kind words when I announced we needed to close up shop. My friends Jessica Simmons and Rand Ardell designed and managed the anthology’s production, and it was wonderful working with them — they made something beautiful and enduring.
Seven friends in particular helped keep me sane and offered good and solicited advice — and sometimes a good warning of shoals ahead — through my editorship and ownership: Margarita Noriega, Jason Snell, Mari Huertas, Dan Shapiro, Lex Friedman, Matt Bors, and Danielle Clay. I owe them many drinks.
My wife, Lynn, and my kids, Ben and Rex, have been stalwart supporters throughout, even in the depths of the endless work during the Kickstarter campaign. I love them dearly, and they will, I hope, enjoy the lightened burden I’ll have without a fortnightly deadline.
There’s more to come, though very likely not under this label. Sign up for our mailing list for an announcement of a future project that will have some elements in common with The Magazine, but be its own creature.
I’ll push out one final issue after this one that will have no new content, but some favorite articles, and a cover to remember us by so the last image in your Newsstand remains cheery.
In this issue
Americans haven’t yet cottoned to speedway, a motorcycle-racing competition sport as popular in some parts of the world as NASCAR is in our fair country. Brittany Shoot caught up with a California man who was Born to Slide — he’s famous globally, but almost anonymous here, even as he has pursued his career across a remarkably long time in a sport that favors the young.
Chris Higgins has pursued his writing career from a young age. But an odd set of circumstances led him to live Life in a Fishbowl after his first gig: writing a cover story about fancy guppies for a fish magazine. Master Higgins was a precocious lad, and became a moderator in a CompuServe fish forum, which led to his magazine assignment. When an Associated Press reporter picked up the story and ran with the angle that his age was unknown to the magazine (true!), it led to endless ribbing at his school. He endured the embarrassment, changed schools, and continues to own guppies — and writes for a living. (You might also appreciate this story by the Marketplace radio show on magazines: 800 new, optimistic ones were launched in the last year.)
Dennis Severs had a very clear image of what London should be like, even as he lived what he considered a mundane life in the US: it was the world portrayed in costumed period television dramas. He took his first opportunity to head to England, in the late 1960s, and found that all his dreams had already been shredded or were in the process of being demolished. Colleen Hubbard takes a trip to the fantasy house of the late Severs in You Are Our Television. Her story dovetails neatly with an announcement last week of the potential for a BBC-derived theme park to be built in England, which would presumably include re-creations of some of the time periods and homes that Severs loved.
Finally, Lisa Schmeiser discovered one day that a new tenant had arrived in the house. Invisible, eyeless, and prone to tears, Black Hand had taken up residency in the imagination of her daughter Trixie. As Trixie has grown — she was first discussed as an in utero being in Issue #24, “Look Within” — Black Hand has grown with her, though he remains as labile as always.
The illustration for Lisa’s article is by Lucy Bellwood. We’re so delighted with it that we’ll be making it available in T-shirt form in early 2015.
Refunds and issue access
I’ll be in touch by month’s end with Kickstarter backers, Web site subscribers, and gift-subscription recipients either with refunds or a query about how to provide a refund to you. Our subscription year ends on December 31, 2014, as we published the two issues promised for December.
Refunds for Web site subscribers will be processed no later than January 1, 2015. You may have a renewal charged in the meantime. Even if the renewal is charged, we’ll refund the remainder based on that December 31 cutoff date.
iTunes subscribers with monthly subscriptions should have already received a cancellation notice from Apple. We disabled monthly subscriptions, which will mean you will not be charged again. (If you didn’t receive this, please check your iTunes account, which you can access directly; or, in our app, tap the Settings [gear] icon and then tap Manage Subscriptions. Confirm in iTunes that “auto-renew” is set to Off.)
Yearly iTunes subscribers will receive a credit from Apple reflecting the pro-rated remaining unfulfilled portion of your subscription. It will take into the new year before the credit appears.
We’ve reverted to opening all our archives to subscribers. If you use Settings (gear) > Restore Purchases, you can access any previous issue. You can also still associate your iTunes account with our Web site, and have permanent access to back issues there as well.
On January 1, 2015, our yearly subscription will change to $49.95 per year for unlimited archive access for people without previous subscriptions. Apple requires at least one subscription to remain active to keep our app available. Current yearly subscribers will have their renewal canceled as part of the pro-rated refund process, so you won’t be charged this fee.
Staying in touch
We have loved hearing from you. We can let you know about future publishing efforts if you sign up for our very infrequent announcement email list, follow us on Twitter, or follow our page on Facebook.
Glenn Fleishman is the editor and publisher of The Magazine, and contributes reguarly to the Economist, Boing Boing, TidBITS, and Macworld. The father of two, Glenn won two episodes of Jeopardy! in 2012, and he won't let you forget it.