Today I was exceptionally bored at my desk, waiting, as one does, for the clock to tick down on the last hours of Friday afternoon. Just when I thought the stupor would never subside, I was gifted with the timely arrival of a subscription magazine: The Writer’s Digest.
My mother signed me up for the Writer’s Digest mailing list for Christmas since I’m addicted to them and have used their magazine over the past two years to keep in touch with the writing world when I’ve never felt so isolated from it. I had a solid hour before being able to leave work, so I curled up in my chair and began paging through the articles.
It was close to leaving time when my co-teacher finally asked me what I was reading. I showed it to her and she asked what it was about.
“Oh, you know. Stuff about writing, news about books and publishing. Advice and inspiration for writers.”
“Wow it sounds interesting,” she said, but looked somewhat bemused. “I’ve never heard of something like this before.”
“Really?” I asked.
She told me the only magazines she’s ever seen have been related to the media and entertainment. It was my turn to look bemused.
I guess, when you have them for everything back home from digital art to home décor to fantasy football, you take it for granted that the market is as saturated everywhere around the world.
I can’t say that I was surprised when she told me this however, given Korea’s infamous lack of all things creative and subculture. It struck me as a shame, though. Magazines are such a simple yet effective way of keeping in touch with subjects that interest you, like me with my writing. Sure there’s the internet, but nothing quite compares to physically picking up a glossy rag and flipping through.
It’s also no wonder the country’s so caught up with the media; it’s all they see. And by extension, their ignorance about any other topics means there’s little demand for a supply in anything else. Though it’s certainly not the only thing suffering, zine culture certainly is an effect of this limited system. (Oh dear, I’m talking about the “system”; bring in the anarchy flags).
Anyhow, I just found that particular observation interesting and wanted to share it with y’all. Novelty magazines certainly would be a good thing to start up in Korea, what with a virtually virgin market.
What do you think?