Meredith Corporation announced today that Country Home magazine’s last issue will be this March. Stunning. Country Home, with its modern take on the country and cottage lifestyle was a very popular magazine with a readership of over 8 million. Today Meredith claimed a poor advertising climate forced their hand. What wasn’t said was that the writing has been on the wall since Editor Carol Sheehan, author of the popular book “Living with Dogs” left the magazine last year. Sheehan started at Country Home in 1997, but since her departure the quality has suffered. While at the helm, Sheehan recruited her friend, author Mary Emmerling to join her at Country Home, and this duo was formidable. But Emmerling quietly disappeared shortly after Sheehan and the magazine couldn’t survive both their absences. LuAnne Brandsen took over for Sheehan and after a rocky start, the magazine was finally getting back on tract, but it couldn’t have been easy for her with the two looming ghosts of giants Sheehan and Emmerling. Brandsen persevered and the last few issues have been some of her best ones. What a shame.
This freefall of discontinued magazines is getting a little scary. Cottage Living and O Home are two of the latest to shut their doors. Vogue Living is gone now, too. House and Garden, finished. Who’s next? Along with announcing the death of Country Home, Meredith said 350 employees are getting pink slips. They predicted that this is not the end – that other magazines are rumored to soon follow. Hopefully – they won’t be other design titles.
It wasn’t your mother’s country at Country Home – it was a hybrid of Americana, English and French, with a little Swedish thrown in.
Magazines need to get with the digital explosion. Lately, I’ve been subscribing to as many magazines digitally as are offered. But, it’s still slim pickings. Meredith should place their inventory for sale online – it might help. Digital magazines are green, they save paper, shelf space, gasoline, printing expenses, distribution expenses and landfills – how more 2000 can you get? One other advantage to reading digitally is that all references are clickable to their websites – a huge timesaver. Digital magazines are the future, so why hasn’t Meredith signed on?
All I can say is House Beautiful, Veranda, Southern Accents, and Elle Decor better be safe!
And, in a bit of blogging business and shameless self promotion, I want to thank Terry Sapienza for naming Cote de Texas to the Washington Post’s Blog Watch: Top Ten Clicks for 2008! Thanks Terry so very much! I am flattered and honored to be named alongside such a great group.
To read The Washington Post article, please go here.