Vanity Fair. Strong writing and a point of view.
Vanity Fair. Strong writing and a point of view.
Vanity Fair. Strong writing and a point of view.

Although the online world has put a dent in the traditional magazine publishing model, there are still plenty of hard copy magazines (and newspapers for that matter) worth reading. In fact, perhaps because of the heightened competition brought on by the Internet, the quality of content has actually increased. If you scan your local bookstore’s magazine rack or newsstand you’ll find mostly good stuff. Advertising is important. As is a multi-channel strategy: online + traditional.

TIME (and their partnership with CNN) is a good example. An iconic brand, they’ve partnered with CNN to create a combination news and editorial portal at It’s a great way for readers to further engage — not to mention an additional advertising stream for TIME.

So here are my top 10 magazine subscription picks that make great gifts, 12 times a year!

10. Newsweek. Especially convenient on a plane where a newspaper proves unwieldy to read.

9. BusinessWeek. An easy read, with occasional depth. Best for staying current.

8. Consumer Reports. Still decent, although Internet sites offer more depth and peer reviews. They’ve lightened up lately no longer shunning power windows in cars.

7. Smithsonian. Classy coverage of the arts and sciences, plus included membership to the Smithsonian Institution.

6. Vanity Fair. Superb writing.

5. GQ or InStyle. For men, women or both. Take your pick. Best of their class.

4. Scientific American. Because we need more critical thinkers.

2. Wired. A technology classic. Insightful writing and clever.

1. TIME. Still the gold standard after all these years (despite their sometimes controversial person of the year picks).

And, 5 to avoid:

5. Better Homes and Gardens. So many ads, so little content.

4. Cosmopolitan. Yes ladies, men are human.

3. Good Housekeeping. So schmaltzy it hurts.

2. People. Come on, really? Alright, maybe I do read it at the grocery store and dentist’s office… but that’s it I swear!

1. O, The Oprah Magazine. Ok, yes, yes a choice perhaps mostly out of spite. She owns television and media networks. Does she also need to own magazines and literature?

Monica Turner
Contributor to Stark Insider for tech, the arts and All Things West Coast for over 10 years.