The rise and fall, mostly fall, of print titles in the Information Age is something the press is forever writing about. Which is fine. It is a big story.
Maybe that’s what makes this small story in The New York Times about the 300th anniversary edition of Tatler so enchanting.
Like an obstinate British blueblood sticking to tweed, Tatler seems to have decided that the Internet is a passing fad. It keeps the magazine’s contents off its spartan Web site, posting only material from its supplements on subjects like travel, cosmetic surgery and private education.
While many magazines are digitally challenged, few seem to be as unbothered about it as Tatler, a fixture on coffee tables in stockbrokers’ homes in Surrey and elsewhere around the world where old and new money mingle.
“I’m rather tired of all this business about the Internet,” said Patricia Stevenson, Tatler’s publishing director. “Magazines are wonderful things to have with you and to take around with you. I think Tatler is going to be around for another 300 years.”
Interestingly, Condé Nast, which owns Tatler, announced the end of the line for four of its print titles–Gourmet, Modern Bride, Elegant Bride and Cookie. About 180 people will lose their jobs as a result of the four closings.
Yet magazines, as Tatler’s publishing director argues, are wonderful objects to have around and tote about. I have several on the coffee table before me now. But titles lacking a sizable share of adverts and/or a dedicated subscriber base are fast disappearing. Is this wrong? No, but for longtime fans of a mag, it can be a bitter disappointment. For instance, Meg Hourihan, a geek who likes to cook, says, “Shuttering Gourmet is short-sighted and stupid.”