Apparently Tim hasn't seen publications like Wallpaper[0] and Monocle[1] (both created by Tyler Brûlé). Ironically, those kinds of aspirational/luxury magazines are printed on heavy stock, and therefore lack a few of the traits that he enjoyed about The Atlantic.

[0]: [1]:

The older I get - the more I crave tactile experiences. I was glad he mentioned the experience of listening to albums (well, it’s not the listening that’s so calming after all - he is right on that).

Everything has trade offs and as time goes on I value the benefits of technology less and less. I believe this has more to do with age than any sort of absolute value judgement.

I should stop at the grocery store on the way home.

Several years ago I wrote a couple of articles for a luxury magazine that you could only get with a $500+/year newspaper subscription, and the newspaper itself was a luxury product before it went downmarket to access a more aspirational readership.

The big question is what concepts like luxury and premium really mean. There's an "I know it when I see it," aspect to it, and when it's not real, it seems cheap. While making a living in the early 00's as a vulnerability researcher and pen-tester, I moonlighted as a writer and was part of a clique of fashion writers who had access to events, products, and perks from global luxury brands and haute fashion houses, and what I learned from it is that when people use words like "cool" and "sexy" what they mean is "powerful." The question of what luxury is is whether it signals alignment to power, and not just narrative, but to the only real power that prevails, which is human desire.

Trouble is, what's changed in the last decade or so is that the people who are powerful now are no longer desirable. They have no eros. Politicians are mostly vapid, unattractive celebrities mouthing talking points like actors, and desirable celebrities like actors and musicians are just disposable commodities. Tech has produced a superclass of uncanny and unfuckable weirdos who regular people don't even envy because even for the billions of dollars, nobody wants to be like them. I think a fundamental disconnect between power and desire has emerged, where undesirable people have the reins of power, and all of our media is produced based what somebody thinks someone else -should- want. The result is that our current media is a reflected simulacrum of art that is not the product of a single persons actual belief or love, and it doesn't bear fruit in the form of inspiration to others. The culture changed from admiring and appreciating artists to competing to worship gatekeepers for access to attention, and the media business of mediating art is spectacularly dead.

The only true luxury now is privacy, which is "free to those who can afford it, and very expensive to those who can't," and that's the one thing a mass media business cannot survive in. It's also the one thing that these new undesirable powers can't tolerate, because a place for sharing genuine desire necessarily excludes them. Luxury media now is the ability to access niche views based on your level of competence or education, free from the compromises and hustles of mobs and influencers. It's practically membership in a conspiracy. Maybe that's the play. A conspiracy of craft, maybe.

WRT to

>> 11. In fact: No. Popups. Ever.

Not quite for me, I do find the little subscription card inserts within magazines very annoying. I have to rip them out and they always tear awfully, bending the spine of magazine.

When I was in high school I was a big fan of The Atlantic and The Economist. The Atlantic cost something ridiculous, I think it was $14 for two years. The Economist was at least 10 times that.

So I subscribed to the former and would buy the latter whenever I found a copy at a store.

Both were amazing experiences to read; growing up in Indiana I didn’t have much exposure to the international and cultural flavor that they reveled in.

And of course the tactile experience really is dramatically better than anything digital.

I think some part of the luxury experience is the intentionality involved in buying a physical magazine.

I’ve been a subscriber to a number of publications that might be considered luxury media - think the Financial Times, Times Literary Supplement, and New York Review of Books, and more popular (“middlebrow”) titles like the Economist and New Yorker. In almost every case where there wasn’t some utilitarian value proposition, I found myself opening the covers (or apps) less and less over time while still getting unreasonably excited when buying single issues at airport newsstands and such.

Another example is -- it costs a pretty penny at $50/mo with issues only being released once a quarter, so $150 per issue. But I do think of it as more of a "thank you" gift for a charitable donation to a project I support, since I believe all the articles in each one are all available online before the print version comes out.
Any recommendations for magazines? I wouldn't mind subscribing to one or two so I have something to casually browse when I'm tired of staring at a monitor. It seems like when I buy magazine at a store though, it's 60% ads, 30% sponsored articles, and 10% interesting content. I'm usually left wondering why I just spent $10 to look at advertising. Do good ones actually exist?
Welcome to the future. Digital abundance. Meatspace scarcity. This will be the case from magazines to teachers to meetings to vacations. The "real" will be a luxury.

Life as we know it may turn into Wonderbread.

Print definitely has its advantages, though it's quite the bulky medium if you're collecting a lot of information.

Larger-format e-book readers (10" or 13" displays) offer an excellent reading experience, including near-paper-sharp text rendering (200--300 dpi). Most devices are monochrome, and even the colour devices that do exist are far from the high-saturation of a four-colour glossy-paper print, but most greyscale imagery translates well, line-art and halftones especially so.

For e-book materials (PDF, ePub, DJVU, etc.) the distractions of animation and rerendering don't exist. E-ink doesn't offer all of paper's affordances and robustness, but it is readable in bright sunlight (unlike emissive displays) and well-designed systems make navigation and annotation effortless. As a web-tablet, the annoyances of the digital world intrude to a much greater extent, and I'm finding myself increasingly less enamoured of the HTML + CSS + JS environment, though it's usually tolerable. The ability to have a large library at one's fingertips and easily slipped into a bag or backpack is its own luxury.

Perhaps someone should make a monthly HN magazine, with the top articles and a "Who's Hiring?" section.
I've noticed that the periodicals section at drugstores and airports have shifted to 'evergreen' type of content as well. I've seen special issues on Beatles, Bob Dylan, Cure and Nirvana with tons of high-quality pictures and trivia.

I actually have a music fanzine about of my own, focused on 1990s shoegaze [0]. Certainly not 'luxury media' by any means, more of a visual, in-print collage of my writing and research on the subject. A lot of that era never made it into the internet age, and what is documented online is not far away from 404-ing into the great beyond.


No love for Grant’s Interest Rate Observer? It’s an expensive luxury piece for sure, but the quality and the subject matter are well worth the price imho.
And the Atlantic isn't even a particularly high-end magazine! Granted, the really fancy ones will run you more like $20.
I once subscribed to a paper magazine. But since like the second month, I found I never read it, barely have time for it. Those paper just goes straight to the trash. It's luxury in the sense that a lot of waste is created in the process of consumption. But on-demand printing might solve the problem.
I used to pay for the MIT Tech Review printed magazine until i realised its basically useless, devoid of novelty and everything in it could be found online. I see no benefit in printed magazines, they follow the exact same trends and chase the exact same outrage as online.
There are a lot of high-end niche magazines around. You just have to know where to find them. Some off the top of my head:

Field Ethos

The Modern Luxury (house,

The Scout Guide (house)


It occurs to me that there's a market opportunity here for better online magazine experiences, too. Some kind of reading client that can reliably remove all prompts, adverts, etc. Spotify Premium-style from a wide series of magazine-style websites and reformat their content's layout according to user preferences, for a fee that covers operations and payments to publications.

But would it, if successful, lead to a repeat of the tv-streaming giants' arms races and declines? Cause right now, to give an example, most Condé Nast and Springer websites are not as obnoxious and unfriendly as Netflix and I wouldn't want to get two or three years of them being better than they are right now if it meant that, in the long run, the entire publisher-run parts of the web went down the toilet. If nothing else, I like Scientific American.

Insightful take, which mirrors my reasons for buying paper newspapers when I travel.
For some inspiration,

(No affiliation whatsoever)

And still I don't waste paper and come to HN every day instead.
You may like what Inque is up to! No ads, one issue per year, no web version:

>INQUE is a beautiful annual literary magazine dedicated to extraordinary new writing. Documenting what is going to be an era-defining decade, it will run no advertising, have no web version, and only ever publish 10 issues.

> I guess the credit-card company reported my grocery purchases to, well, someone

More like 20–30 someones. Cash is king!

Have Americans not heard of Tatler?
next he 'll discover that radio shows are better than podcasts
Thank God no libertarians made any money!

That being said, I agree with everything else in this article, and I agree that presenting print publications as "for the discerning reader" might be a viable approach.