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Magazines are publications, usually periodical publications, that are printed or published electronically. (The online versions are called online magazines.) They are generally published on a regular schedule and contain a variety of content. They are generally financed by advertising, by a purchase price, by prepaid subscriptions, or all three. At its root, the word "magazine" refers to a collection or storage location. In the case of written publication, it is a collection of written articles. (This explains why magazine publications share the word root with gunpowder magazines, artillery magazines, firearms magazines, and (in various languages although not English) retail stores such as department stores).
Magazines can be distributed through the mail; through sales by newsstands, bookstores, or other vendors; or through free distribution at selected pick-up locations. Sales models for distribution fall into three main categories.
In this model, the magazine is sold to readers for a price, either on a per-issue basis or by subscription, where an annual fee or monthly price is paid and issues are sent by post to readers. Examples from the UK include Private Eye and PC Pro.
This means that there is no cover price and issues are given away, for example in street dispensers, airline in-flight magazines, or included with other products or publications. An example from the UK and Australia is TNT Magazine.
This is the model used by "insider magazines" or industry-based publications distributed only to qualifying readers, often for free and determined by some form of survey. This latter model was widely used before the rise of the World Wide Web and is still employed by some titles. For example, in the United Kingdom, a number of computer-industry magazines, including Computer Weekly and Computing, and in finance, Waters Magazine. For the global media industry, an example would be VideoAge International.
In the library technical sense, a "magazine" paginates with each issue starting at page one. Academic or professional publications that are not peer-reviewed are generally professional magazines.
The earliest example of magazines was Erbauliche Monaths Unterredungen which was launched in 1663 in Germany. It was a literary and philosophy magazine. The Gentleman's Magazine, first published in 1731, in London, is considered to have been the first general-interest magazine. Edward Cave, who edited The Gentleman's Magazine under the pen name "Sylvanus Urban," was the first to use the term "magazine," on the analogy of a military storehouse of varied materiel, ultimately derived from the Arabic makhazin ("storehouses") by way of the French language. Wordsmith offers this origin: "Plural of Arabic makhzan: storehouse, used figuratively as "storehouse of information" for books, and later to periodicals)."
The oldest consumer magazine still in print is The Scots Magazine, which was first published in 1739, though multiple changes in ownership and gaps in publication totaling over 90 years weaken that claim. Lloyd's List was founded in Edward Lloyd’s England coffee shop in 1734; it is still published as a daily business newspaper.
In 2011, 152 magazines ceased operations and in 2012, 82 magazines were closed down.
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