Warm Blanket Award #2: Maghound
I used to work in the magazine business. Back in my New York life, I was a promotional copywriter at Cosmopolitan magazine and then at Sports Illustrated. I still remember the delicious sound I would hear every Friday when the mail cart would come cruising down the hallway on the 29th floor of the Time Life Building, filled to the brim with every new issue of the company's many magazines. This all-you-can-read buffet spoiled me for life.
Today, my addiction has not ceased and my household subscribes to 18 magazines:
Fortune, Forbes, Vanity Fair, Time, Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated for Kids, Oprah, Real Simple, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Family Circle, Parenting, Cookie, Better Homes & Gardens, More, Metropolitan Home, and Sunset.
So I certainly qualify as a "Maghound" -- the name of a new service from Time Inc. which is the recipient of this month's Warm Blanket Award.
Maghound defines itself as "a magazine lover's best friend." Here's how it works:
You order your magazine subscriptions online from this one centralized website. There are 292 magazines to choose from, including 33 titles that fall into the "Kids, Family and Teen" category. You pay via credit card and can change your subscription choices at any time -- even every month if you wish -- with a quick visit to the site.
- The end of the incessant renewal notices that begin arriving immediately upon starting a subscription. (I call this behavior "The Boy Who Cried 'Last Issue!'") For moms who have gazillions of balls in the air, we resent any company that needlessly tugs on our sleeves, begging for attention.
- Flexibility to "grow" with your family's changing needs. Kids cycle in and out of magazine sweet spots quickly. Sports Illustrated for Kids learned that lesson and smartly launched Sports Illustrated for Teens. Likewise, moms can seamlessly segue from Pregnancy magazine to Parents to Family Fun.
- Pay one time via the Web. Need I say more?
- Accommodates seasonal reading. It's a well-known fact that cooking magazines see an enormous spike in newsstand sales in the Thanksgiving through New Year period. Moms can cycle in Bon Appetit in November, perhaps the only time of year when they're motivated to break out the good china and don an apron. When June rolls around and the kids are out of school, say hello to People, In Style, and other mind-candy beach reads. (This customization feature is also a brilliant maneuveur for the publishers, introducing new readers to new titles, without the commitment of a one-year subscription.)
My only hesitation about the service is that a true Maghound like myself can't use it yet. Because it can't "port" current magazine subscriptions over to Maghound, I have to wait until each of my subscriptions ends, ignoring the flurry of paper notices, and then adding that subscription to my Maghound rotation. But once every last issue of our 18 magazines has run out and been renewed via Maghound, I'm home free. I can't wait -- my tail is wagging already.