Confessions of a car magazine junkie

Published: 19 May 2010

Finished reading the new June 2010 issue of CAR Magazine last night. Which threw my reading habits into stark relief. I’m a magazine junkie, hopelessly addicted to print. Leafing through the pages, smelling the ink, thumbing the varnish of the cover, cooing over photography, cussing mistakes, scanning headlines and captions, deciding where to feast first. There’s something deeply satisfying about picking up a new mag for the first time.

Obviously I’m biased. I’ve spent the past 14 years plying my trade in print, but the arrival each month of CAR – and indeed other magazines I subscribe to – still sends me into a spin. It’s the same for most of us here. Usually a handful of early copies are hand delivered and there’s an unseemly squabble to grab the first mags. They’re not hot off the press these days; rather chilled from hanging around outside in transit. Ice-cold CAR Magazine, anyone? 

There's a familiar routine: pick up mag, soak up front cover, run hand over the gloss. Our talented art department spend weeks poring over the finer points of the cover: the subjects, the layout, getting the typography just right, the use of varnish, fifth colours, coloured metallic foils. It’s all well and good designing your shop window on screen, but until the finished product opens in your hand you’re still guessing.

My favourite part of the reading process? The smell of a new glossy mag! Since childhood I’ve loved the scent of newsprint, inky books, magazines. The rich hit of ink brings promise of mental adventure, escapism, hours of solitary entertainment wherever you are in the house or the world: the very essence of printed matter. Anyone with me? Anyone?

And then there’s the reading ritual. Some people start at the back and read in reverse. Others flick to the columns or the cover story. Me, I prefer a straight flick through, from A-Z, deciphering the highlights, mentally ordering my reading list, making my virtual playlist physical. I’m a dipper and browser – ignoring months of careful editorial flatplanning and reordering my read to suit my mood.

As editor of CAR Online, I’m an early adopter of technology and we’re already investigating new methods of delivering CAR. But judging by the pleasure the magazine brings us and, we hope, tens of thousands of you, there’s life in the printed word yet.

>> What sort of magazine reader are you? How do you consume CAR? Click ‘Add your comment’ and let us know

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet