Merwin: Online vs. Print Magazines

So how do you take your Field & Stream -- on-line only or also in print? I get the feeling that the majority of readers here are not also subscribers to the print edition. On-line is free and the print edition is not, so perhaps that's why. But still, a year's print subscription only costs a measly 10 bucks. I think if you're not also a print subscriber, you're short-changing yourself. Here's why.

When I write my fishing column in the print edition, for example, I can and do go into much more useful detail on any given topic than I can in an on-line blog post, which, by definition, is much shorter. The same is true of Cermele, Bestul, Bourjaily, Deeter, Petzal, and all the other regular contributors who appear in both mediums. Reading on-line is useful and valuable--at least I try to make it so--but there's even more more utility and value in print.

Interaction is another reason. If you read something in one of my print-edition fishing columns and have a question, you can ask your question right here. I'll say right away that I'm not promising to answer every cockamamie theory that gets posted on this site. But I do try to be a good guy and answer reasonable questions in a reasonable way. Interacting with writers on-line is a unique opportunity that too few people utilize.

The print edition is also portable, meaning it works just as well in an Alaskan outhouse as it does in an Atlanta living room. The only electricity required might be flashlight batteries for reading in the tent on a rainy night. Yes, it is sometimes true that I read the magazine on-line on my iPod Touch while hanging around in some distant airport. But even there, reading the print edition is a hell of a lot easier.

Then there's the final argument. Like most magazines, we are a commercial product and not a charity. If people aren't willing to pay for the product, it eventually won't exist. Can you imagine the world of hunting and fishing without Field & Stream? I can't. So maybe it's time to click here and vote with your credit card....