Mailboxes and newsstands will feel a little emptier come Oct. 17, when a slimmed-down version of Rolling Stone hits the newsstands. The magazine’s dimensions will be shrunk down from its current 10″ by 11 3/4 real estate to the standard 8″ish by 11″ish size used by most magazines. It’ll also use glossier paper and be perfect-bound on the side, no doubt so various Mick Jagger aphorisms can run up and down the spine. (Might I suggest “I am in the basement / Looking for the truth” for new issue No. 1?) How does founder and publisher Jann Wenner feel about all this? He’s trying to put a brave face on it: “All you’re getting from that large size is nostalgia,” he told the Times, although he did admit that he was “kind of torn about” the change. But is that really the only difference? Let’s look at the photographic comparison of the two covers that was helpfully supplied by the Times and a stubbled, familiar-looking spokesmodel:
Is it just me, or is the new iteration of Rolling Stone‘s cover a bit more… centrist? One of the things I always liked about the nearly obsolete format of the magazine was the off-kilter way it forced the cover photos to be awkwardly aligned with the page; it was one of the few things that made the mag’s seemingly standard “person on blankish background” stand out a bit. But perhaps its publishers, like the cover subject in the above photo, also want to trend toward the middle. (And the less reading-ready; another one of the supposed “advantages” of the new size is that articles are no longer “daunting expanses of almost uninterrupted type.” Listicles, here we come!)
Also of note: Wenner is using one of the mag’s cover-line-free front pages as an example of the changes to the magazine. Could this mean that we’ll see more newsstand-ready coverlines as part of the grab for more readers–like, say, “50 New Ways To Leave Your Lover”?