Magazine Editing: In Print and Online

J Morrish and P Bradshaw, Routledge, 3rd edn, 2011, 288pp, £27.99 (pbk), ISBN 978 0 415 60835 0 (pbk)

Reviewed by Katherine James

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Can you believe it? In the UK, 1.5 billion magazines are sold every year, bringing in £4.88 billion – making magazines a larger section of the media than either the music or the film industry. So, there is evidently a need for a book like this one, which explains the many aspects of creating a saleable magazine in today's world.

The third edition of this well-established text (see Editing Matters, Jan/Feb 2009, for an earlier review) provides a huge amount of information for anyone involved in magazine production at any level, from parish magazine to international circulation.

What's different in this edition is that it embraces comprehensively the electronic age, offering essential pointers on how to tackle the rapidly changing web-world markets. At the same time, it retains its original premise: that magazine editors must establish the common ground between journalism – whether for information or entertainment – and the means to create profit (largely by advertising): a fine path for any editor to tread.

In tackling this wide field, the authors – who have complementary, in-depth experience within the industry – have distilled the job to its core. They believe firmly that the current state of magazine publishing generates great opportunities for those coming new to the industry. The text sets out the elements of the many skills required, from journalistic to managerial, including, critically, the need to make money.

The text focuses on magazine editing, but in fact there is much here that would be useful to anyone new to the publishing industry generally (including a helpful glossary of terms), or someone wanting to branch out into a new sector of the industry – and for that alone it may well be worth the investment. This book will provide much of the theoretical information and support that you need. It cannot, of course, provide that essential ingredient, experience, since – to quote the authors – 'No one ever learned to be an editor from a textbook.'

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