The last 30 years in the life of American magazines were, to say the least, the best and the worst of years. The era from 1985 to 2015 was described as the golden age of American magazines and also as the changing age of American magazines. Definitions changed, publishing companies changed, and what used to be described as magazines only, is now known as magazine media.
However, one thing did not change. New magazines, those bundles of pure reading joy that continue to arrive in the marketplace, were hot in 1985 and they were still just as hot in 2015.
A total of 23,318 new magazines arrived at the nation’s newsstands during those last 30 years from which 9,828 titles were born with the intention to publish at least four times a year, and if I may add, I have each and every one of those 23,318 titles.
In 2015 and from those 9,828 frequency titles, I started the task of identifying the 30 hottest magazine launches of the last 30 years. It was no easy feat and I’m sure that the majority would agree that the distinguished titles chosen are well deserving of the honor; however, I also know that some will name other magazines that should reside on that list. But there were benchmarks that had to be met in order to be a part of the stellar lineup.
Here are some of the criteria I used when choosing those titles:
1. The magazine must have been continuously published since its inception
2. The magazine must have been in business since at least 2012
3. The magazine must have either broken new ground or entered a very competitive market and thrived in it
4. The magazine must have transferred from a magazine to a brand
5. The magazine must have extended its reach beyond the ink and paper and/or created other entities based on its DNA
6. The magazine crossed the borders of the United States and created international editions worldwide
7. The magazine today is a force to contend with in its specific category of publishing
Achieving five of the seven mentioned criteria assured the magazine a spot on the list of the hottest magazines of the last 30 years.
For me, someone who loves and encourages every new magazine equally, this was an extremely arduous task to accomplish. It’s hard to differentiate among your children (and all new magazines are like my children to me), but at the end of the day choices had to be made. But I assure you, I am as proud of the entire 9,828 titles that were born with frequency as I am of the 30 chosen.
From individual entrepreneurs who launched their titles with nothing but the passion in their hearts, to the large magazine media companies we all trust and love to bring us the best in magazine reading, the 30 titles chosen are but a small representation of a still-thriving, still-kicking magazine and magazine media industry. Let us all celebrate the entire industry as we honor these 30 titles.
And the celebration of those 30 magazines will take place in New York City at the min 30 event on April 14. To register for the event click here.
And now for the 30 hottest magazine launches of the last 30 years: