Personal Finance

BusinessWeek – End Of An Era

I used to love reading BusinessWeek – so much so that I’ve had a subscription to this magazine for about 15 years. Recently I got a renewal notice and for the first time I won’t be renewing.

I still like reading this magazine and because of the Canadian dollar it’s cheaper than it’s ever been but I just don’t get much value out of it anymore.

Back then

I started reading BW back in 1993 – at the time there was no world wide web and even though the www started two years later in 1995, it was a number of years before the web became a pretty good business resource. I liked almost all of its articles since I was very interested in investing and I even had dreams of being a stock analyst when I grew up.


These days I found that I often read very little of each magazine for a few reasons:

  • Time – For some reason I just don’t have as much time as I used to have for reading.
  • Duplication – There are so many other great business resources on the web such as all the fine blogs I like to read.
  • BW online – The magazine is online now so I often read articles of interest before I get the print copy.
  • Relevancy – Now that I am a passive investor I don’t have as much interest in hearing about various companies around the world which I used to think of as investment possibilities.
  • Non-Canuck – You would be hard pressed to find one mention of Canada in ten issues. The fact that the magazine is not Canadian was one of the reasons I liked it since it provided different material from the Canadian newspapers. However even though Canada is small potatoes in the business world, we are the largest trading partner of the US and it’s hard to understand how little we get mentioned.

The future

I started a subscription last year to MoneySense which is an awesome Canadian financial magazine and I’m really enjoying it. I imagine there will come a time when I let that subscription expire but hopefully that day won’t come anytime soon.

9 replies on “BusinessWeek – End Of An Era”

The Internet is obviously destorying the business model of newspapers (classified ads have typically been one of their core revenue streams and Craigslist is stealing that away from them, young people don’t read newspapers).

I always imagined that the exact same thing must be happening to magazines (as you’re experiencing). I’ve talked to people in the industry (I’ve done contract work for publishers), and they say its still going strong (they claim you can replace a newspaper with on-line articles, but you can’t replace the experience of reading vanity fair in the bathtub).

Part of me wonders if they’re just in denial…

I’m surprised print media continues to be as strong as it is, considering the prevalence of the high speed internet connection, and the availability of up to the second news in North American households. 25 years from now will newspapers and magazines still be hanging on? Even books might eventually go the way of the dodo, but I think they would hang on for a lot longer. Something about setting up under the shade of a palm tree with a good paperback that just can’t be duplicated with an Amazon Kindle 🙂

I still like the tactile feel of a magazine even if the information is readily available online. You can’t sit on the dock of the cottage or on a boat with your website (well you can but its a lot harder).

But you’re totally right when it comes to information that needs to be current like business info.

I think that some print media is going away, but it’s definitely not all gone. Some magazine stuff can definitely be replaced by the web, that whole “periodicals” concept is much better served on the web.

CDs may be suffering b/c (all other things equal) we’d rather just have a digital library. I still buy CDs, but I don’t actually use them. They just get ripped to the hard drive and streamed around the house.

But books aren’t dying b/c they’re a better medium than the alternative. Maybe Amazon’s Kindle will change that, but unless they can really drop the price, we’re a long ways from books going away. If anything, I expect books to become more prevalent as the web helps connect readers to their interests.

Of course, I see Audiobooks as the next big ticket. Audible isn’t doing really well yet, but that’s b/c their target audience isn’t quite equipped correctly. Portable music devices lend themselves perfectly to Audio Books: no more CD stacks! And spoken word files can be compressed 2-4 times more than typical music files, so it’s really not a lot of space.

But yeah, I tend to think that mags are dead. I just let go of my long-held Maximum PC subscription and I can’t say that I’m missing it too much.

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