So in the latest edition of print magazines, especially print gun magazines, going under, Harris Publications last week rose the white flag on their portfolio of 75-ish niche titles. You have seen them at every convenience store check out rack in the country. Gun titles they ran for years included:
Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement
Guns of the Old West
Personal & Home Defense (published bi-annually)
Special Weapons for Military & Police
As well as a host of annual gun buyer’s guides.
In a statement from Harris they noted, “The magazine publishing industry has been through turmoil in the face of the rapid ascendance of digital media, changing consumer content preferences, magazine wholesaler struggles and consolidation in the supply chain,” in a statement. “We have tried mightily to persevere against these forces, but have been unable to overcome these challenges.”
The NRA’s American Rifleman quickly noted, “Owner Stanley Harris, or at the least his distribution manager, was shear genius at placing those periodicals on newsstands, seemingly everywhere and in some places where saying the word ‘gun’ at the checkout resulted in a SWAT Team response. The vacuum they leave could reduce the number of new enthusiasts recruited.”
This follows on the heels of merc trade mag Soldier of Fortune switching to all-digital only format last month.
Rumint is that the online properties Tactical-Life.com and PersonalDefenseWorld.com will reportedly stay online under new ownership. Though their web presence is very shallow. For instance Taclife’s FB page is only rolling about 28K deep while and PDW’s is slightly less.
And some are rightfully critical of even those better-liked titles.
The problem is with many is that all these mags were always the same guns and same stories so if you read one, you never had a reason to buy another. I mean just look at the last six months of covers for Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement magazine to see how stuck in a rut there were:
CCW jedi Mas Ayoob, who wrote seemingly off and on for most of their titles, waxed poetic in his column over at Backwoods Home over the sudden shuttering at Harris, saying that, “The changing paradigms of electronic vis-à-vis dead tree media are no secret,” but noting that other print gun mags such as “Guns and American Handgunner on the newsstands and the professional journal Shooting Industry, all seem to be flourishing despite the rise of the electronic media.”
Still, pour one out for former Harris employees everywhere…competitive shooter Michelle Viscusi did.