Monday, November 9, 2009

A Suggestion for Conde Nast

By now anybody who follows food writing knows that the November issue of Gourmet magazine is its last. The website will remain up for an unspecified time and some recipes will be available on another website, but the magazine which made foodies of so many is no more.

I would like to propose to Conde Nast, the magazine’s publishing company, that they follow the example of their other publication, The New Yorker, and make available the entire run of the magazine on DVD. I received the complete New Yorker on DVD a few years ago for Christmas and it is a wonderful product – easy to search, easy to read on the computer screen, and if you wish, you can print out a story to peruse in your favorite armchair. Not only can one read the first publication of works like E. Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain, John Hersey’s Hiroshima, and articles by John McPhee and Calvin Trillin, but one can also enjoy looking at the cartoons, seeing what was playing on Broadway or who was appearing in nightclubs at any time during the magazine’s history. And the advertisements are a lot of fun to read as well. (Since the New Yorker is still being published, an extra DVD is offered every year to update the set.)

I would so love to have Gourmet in this format. I know that Google Books now has the complete run of Life and New York, Ebony and Mother Jones, and it’s nice to have them available for free (although I find their site less pleasant to use than the DVD New Yorker), but why shouldn’t Conde Nast make a little more money off Gourmet? A few other magazines have also been issued as sets of DVDs – Rolling Stone, MAD, Playboy (the 1950s issues) and National Lampoon; I think National Geographic issued a DVD archive a few years ago too.

Well, that’s my bright idea for the day. Too bad I don’t know anybody at Conde Nast. Are there any old magazines you’d like to see on DVD?

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