Magazines have historically existed in a variety of forms. Initially, they were not printed at a regular pace or for specific dates. In other words, they were not periodicals. They were more similar to today’s notion of a pamphlet. The pamphlet was, in fact, a precursor of the modern magazine.
The idea which prevails is concerned with subjects which periodicals were featuring. They were always concerned with specific topics and similarly to today had a preconceived target audience. What will get issued depends on what is needed. Publications inevitably relied on what the readership was interested in.
This has not changed in the modern times. Magazines have always covered a wide array of interests and continue to do so. They are a worldwide frenzy which is read by all ages and social groups.
This widely spread style of the written word has not always come in such a form. A couple of centuries ago you could only find essays in magazines or periodicals. Though they were exemplary pieces of work which were concerned with political and social matters they are far from what the magazine is today. Though these serious topics remain indispensable today, in those times they were represented differently. Nevertheless, many still deal with intellectual issues such as archaeology, economy or philosophy.
What remained are magazines concerned with narrowed down subjects. Subjects dabbling in a specific line of work or academic area are very common today.
Reading was nurtured as a rare privilege only restricted social groups were able to obtain. Yet it has been popularized and made widely accessible to the masses. Only citizens from a higher class were literate and had the means to obtain reading material.
Popular VS High Culture
With the change in the audience came innovations. Thus the content has changed as well as the entire notion of magazines. Casting a wider net of topics, targeting new specific audiences, and changing the cost of magazines has shaped this branch of the industry through centuries.
In modern times it looks different. Today magazines as we know them are oriented towards entertainment or popular culture, and family issues more than anything.
There are religious periodicals, magazines specially made for women, sports magazines, even magazines for children. As a society, we have expanded our interests. In regard to that we have developed forms of entertainment and media we inevitably need in our day to day life.
What is more, magazines are a very useful platform for advertising. Think about the number of pages and the space that ads take up in an average magazine. This advertising arrangement allows for the magazine to be self-sufficient and gain profit easily. This happens because of the mutual benefits both the magazine and the ad companies gain.
From the invention of the printing press to the internet era, the printed word has taken many forms. One of the most exciting and varying of these forms remains the magazine. Therefore it comes as no surprise that the magazine readership has significantly increased over the years.