Reading the Rails – Part 2: Magazines vs. Books

Books or magazines? It is a question that has plagued commuters since the dawn of rush hour. When it comes to reading on the go, which provides a more satisfying experience?

This post and the next will discuss the benefits and draw backs of both, perhaps aiding you in your next purchase. Or they will just be an entertaining read for two to three minutes.

This week: The benefits of magazines while commuting.

1. They are disposable

And I mean this in the best possible way. When it comes to commuting, sometimes disposable is best. Commuters subject their reading material to a lot of abuse. Literature can be damaged with the constant pulling out of and putting back into purses, briefcases, knapsacks, etc. Magazines are (generally) cheaper than books and aren’t (necessarily) meant to be kept for re-reading, thereby making a wrinkled, torn, or lost magazine less devastating.

2. There is a wide variety

Canadian magazines are as varied as Hallmark greeting cards. There’s one for every person for every occasion—are you a Canadian nudist? There’s a mag for that (Going Natural — I strongly suggest you check it out). On to less specific tastes. I have friends who describe themselves as “non-readers” but who still enjoy celebrity gossip and glamour magazines like HELLO! Canada and Fashion on their daily commutes. I also have friends who are avid readers and prefer literary magazines like The Walrus and Maclean’s. Whatever your interests, the newsstand will undoubtedly have the right magazine for you and your commute.

3. They are short

…er than books. Most magazines average between 80 – 150 pages. That may sound like a lot, but those pages are filled with photos, advertisements, and — let’s be honest — even your favourite magazine has content you just aren’t interested in reading. Because of their length, magazines are ideal for shorter commutes, and/or commutes with a lot of interruptions (like transfers). One magazine could be devoured in one day or spread out over the week’s commute until the next issue is released.

Convinced magazines are the better choice for commuting reading material? Stay tuned for the next instalment of Reading the Rails where I will discuss the benefits of books.

This week’s Commuter’s Choice: This Magazine

A fresh and exciting take on investigative journalism, This blends traditional reporting with irreverent wit, serious subject matter with titillating observation. Everything from why the baby boomers should “just die already” to the lack of sex in Canadian literature. This is the perfect magazine for a laugh on the way to work or topics for discussion around the water cooler.


2 thoughts on “Reading the Rails – Part 2: Magazines vs. Books

  1. Great debate… I think some magazine companies are forgetting all the reasons you just cited for why Canadians love reading magazines (disposable, quick read, entertaining and variety). I feel like the prices of magazines are going up and up, making it harder to justify the $10 on the new Macleans or trashy (but wonderful) gossip rag.

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