Magazine Courtships


I think I’ve written before about getting into a magazine abundance rut–so many back issues, so little time–and pairing down to a manageable trifecta (Glamour, Imbibe and Food Network Magazine). Of course, my info-on-file with the Glamour subscription expired so it’s been on hold until I get my wallet in gear and update it and I missed some Imbibe‘s from the move and it’s expired. So I’m down to just Food Network Magazine and I miss the others showing up in the mail.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, this past month I’ve gotten 3 offers from 3 other magazines, all courting me for my subscription dollars. I feel so in-demand!

First was Bon Appetit offering me their Professional Discount Rate of $10 for 1 year (plus $3 shipping & handling). 12 issues of a long-running leader in the cooking magazine world plus a free cookbook. Hmmmm… not much to think about on that one, really. Especially with Gourmet having closed it’s doors recently.

Then a newcomer: Vegetarian Times tempted me with a 2 year subscription (19 issues) for $11. Now, I’m not a vegetarian and I’m not planning on becoming one, but I do recognize the health benefits of meatless main dishes and finding out new ways of preparing them is never a bad thing. I admit, I’m a little on the fence, still, but leaning towards acceptance.

Finally, what shows up in my mailbox one day but a sample issue (breaking out the big guns, no?) of Cuisine at Home. Apparently it thinks it’s best feature is that it contains absolutely no ads, because it says this even above the title! That’s some confidence. And speaking of confidence, let’s take a look at their price: $28 for 1 year (6 issues).

Now wait just a minute.

Bon Appetit is your BMOC, the one you’ll gladly take home to Mom: proven track record, a good family over at CondeNast. He’s generous, too, but not too pushy–he doesn’t need to be. Vegetarian Times , however, is more like the sweet, unassuming boy next door who’d really like a chance and is willing to go the extra mile. He’s not pushy, either, because he knows that once you get to know him you’ll be happy you signed on for that 2nd year for an extra dollar–he’s determined to prove to you he’s worth it.

Cuisine at Home, however, is the cocky, brash, bantam rooster type: you’ve never heard of him but he’s going to make sure you don’t forget him! Oh, sure, if you act now he’ll throw in an extra year for “free” but that first year? Yeah, it’s gonna cost you. But, he says, I’ve got no ads, I’m “100% Cooking” and I’ll prove it to you! I’ve got pictures galore and I make fine cuisine accessible to the everyday home cook!

Ah, but that where he tips his hand. I’m not the “everyday home cook.” I have a culinary degree and his sample issue recipes like Shrimp Risotto, grilled Pizza and Chicken Piccata are pretty basic to me. And, I think, a lot of self-professed foodies would consider it the same.

Furthermore, I don’t mind ads in cooking magazines. Why? Because the ads are targeted, they make sense: appliances, ingredients, cookware–I’m happy to see ads for these because it let’s me know if something interesting is out there that I might want to check out. Unlike website ads, magazine ads don’t blink or pop out at you, covering what you’re trying to read.

So at almost $5 an issue, I’m not inclined to invite Cuisine at Home in for a nightcap any time soon. It missed it’s mark with me, but that doesn’t mean others, those newer to cooking and looking to expand from basics, won’t find it interesting.

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