Why would anyone need a print magazine when every dang thing in the world is online? What are you, a dentist’s office?
Here’s why a subscription to a living, breathing print publication is one of the better pleasures in life:
- The magazine won’t interrupt you with a text/email/Minecraft notification.
- With no links to lead you down the rabbit hole, you might actually get to the end of an article.
- It makes checking the mailbox something to look forward to.
- They look cool on your coffee table.
But not just any magazine will do. Here are nine high-quality magazines worthy of your paid subscription. These magazines are good, better, the best. They’ve all got something to say and they say it well, surrounded by good design, and lovely photography. Food, politics, tech, culture, music. These are the print magazines you should subscribe to.
A vacation: Make yourself a sandwich. Put your phone in the closet. Sit. Read your magazine. Eat your sandwich. Get mayo on the pages. Everything is better now.
Special thanks to Steve Salardino of Skylight Books — a place where print has fangs and brass knuckles.
Tech • Science • Gear • Futurology | Monthly
For twenty-five years Wired has talked about, reported on, and explained to the masses the big (and small) tech and science stories surrounding the still unfolding “Digital Revolution.” It’s a focal point in the swirling disco of information that is our current technological dance floor. It’s easy to read but doesn’t dumb anything down. It has a healthy mix of long-form reportage/features, and short snippets to browse while eating cornflakes. Subscribe.
Alternative/Obscure/Underground Music | Monthly
Want to be that guy whose fifty favorite bands are ones no one else has ever heard of? Get Wire. Reading it, you’re sometimes struck with the thought that maybe, just maybe, they’re making this shit up to sound cool. But no, each issue features write ups on real stuff like Soviet rock documentaries, experimental vocalists, drumless space sculptors, and Peruvian avant garde record labels. You will learn about music you’ve never known. And you won’t see anything remotely Top 40. Subscribe.
Architecture • Design • Fashion • Art | Monthly
Part of the appeal of going with print is the physicality. Issues of Wallpaper* (asterisk!) are glossy, substantial, and very pretty to hold. Beyond that you get gorgeous pictures of beautiful stairwells. Glass houses built into rock. Newly opened Czech Republic bars. Shanghai art galleries. Showy furniture design and understated bedrooms. Read while thinking beautiful thoughts. Subscribe.
Science • History • Travel | Monthly
You pick up from the advertising within (hearing aids, joint supplements, collectible coin companies) that the Smithsonian is geared towards an older crowd. Maybe they think only the mature have time for exploring buried cities, learning about snowy owls, or having William Vollmann tell them a story about the first World War. But we all have time for that. Read an issue and feel smarter by the end of it. Subscribe
Americana • Roots Music | Quarterly
If you manage to avoid getting the Uncle Tupelo/Carter Family song stuck in your head each time an issue arrives, you’re a stronger human than I. A publication that has gone from print-only to digital-only and is now rocking both formats, No Depression is backed up by a fierce following of music fans, many of whom contribute stories and columns to the publication.
Even if you don’t care much for the offerings of alt-country, you’ve got to respect a publication that has entirely done away with advertising and outside distribution. Subscribe.
News • Culture • Cartoons • Fiction | Weekly
To be honest, subscribing to the New Yorker is a recipe for baking yourself into an inadequacy pie. It comes every friggin week. And it’s full — FULL! — of stuff you want to read. Fiction by Haruki Murakami or Zadie Smith. News stories on Russian election interference. Reviews of “Maniac” and the new Cat Power album. But unless you’ve recently broken a pelvis and are bed-bound for a good chunk of time, you will not keep up.
Better to approach it as a something-is-better-than-nothing task and flip through it as the week progresses. Then donate the thing to the library or the office. Don’t, however, let them pile up, with your good intentions hovering over them like a fart cloud, turning the pile into a guilty slimy heap on your kitchen island. Subscribe.
Global Affairs • Culture • Travel • Business | 10 Issues Yearly
This London-based magazine is busy, we tell you, bu-sy. Monocle comprises: Makers of travel guides. Producers of videos on far-flung subjects. Writers of books about stuff like building better cities. Recorders of daily/weekly podcasts/radio shows on news, music, culture, food, entrepreneurs. Launchers of international conferences. Runners of retail stores. Throwers of subscriber-only events. And, yes, printers of magazines.
What started as a place to read about global affairs has morphed and evolved into something giant, international, and always very interesting. Consider the magazine a gateway drug into the addictive empire Monocle orchestrates. Subscribe.
Socialist Politics • Economics • Culture | Quarterly
If you lean so far left you’re in danger of toppling over into an abyss, screaming about UBI on your way to the bottom, let Jacobin be your well-designed tether. Attractive, incisive, unapologetic, and gleefully socialist, it’s a magazine fueled by youthful dissent and what one reads to have ready-made counter arguments to the status quo. Subscribe.
Food • Culture • Anthropology | Quarterly
Just three issues old, this lush magazine is concerned less with the grand opening of Joshua Skenes’ new restaurant and more with where the oysters on his menu come from.
A global exploration of the origins of food, Whetstone is a small publication with a giant scope. The first two issues have sold out and volume three is on track to do the same. Round four will be an issue “befitting harvest season” and is guaranteed to take you far beyond the menu. Subscribe.