The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

8:49am on Thursday, 31st March, 2005:

Judged by its Cover


This is how it's supposed to work.

I find myself in a shop that sells magazines. I browse the covers of the ones I like to read and if I see there's a new issue out then I buy it. I remember the magazine by its cover, because that's what's uppermost when it's sitting around on a table in my house somewhere waiting to be read, and because that's what you see when you look at a magazine shelf. Other people do the same thing (one reason they don't stack magazines sideways like they do books). If the cover is unremarkable, I look at the articles inside.

This no longer does work for SFX. In their recent revamp, they started putting plastic bags round the magazine to stop giveaway posters no-one wants from becoming separated and to prevent people from shaking out those irritating advert cards no-one wants to read. The cover of the plastic bag bears no resemblance to the cover of the magazine inside. In Sainsbury's today, I had to try to peer through 5mm of clear plastic at the edge of the bag to see if I recognised the cover inside. Eventually, I took the chance and bought it. Fortunately, it was indeed a new one.

I used to subscribe to SFX. My wife bought me a subscription every year for Christmas. Eventually she gave up, though, because a "year's subscription" was actually a 12-issue subscription. They kept slipping in extra "specials" or "double issues" that meant the 12 issues didn't last 12 calendar months. When one year the subscription ran out after the October issue, she gave up in disgust.

I could, of course, look at the date of the magazine. Unfortunately, this is generally a bad idea. Magazines try to extend their shelf lives by putting dates on that are way in advance of the current date, so in March you can be seeing magazines marked as being the May edition. This copy of SFX was marked April, but that didn't necessarily help as the March edition could have been marked April. The May edition will come out in April. If I look at a magazine on 15th June and it says "June 2005 edition", will that be one I'll have already read or one I haven't read yet?

Just drop the plastic bag, SFX people. I'm going to be buying the magazine less often otherwise, just to make sure I don't waste money on two copies of the same edition.

Referenced by Covered.

Latest entries.

Archived entries.

About this blog.

Copyright © 2005 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).