Winners of ‘Best New Magazines’ Award Still Stand a Good Chance of Failing

Critical acclaim for a new glossy doesn’t mean much on the business side, according to a recent survey of award-winning publications. Miller-McCune‘s Erik Hayden reports on a fall 2009 study by College of Saint Rose librarian Steve Black that shows award-winning new magazines face dim prospects despite recognition for editorial excellence.

Black combed through the 224 magazines honored with the Library Journal‘s “Best New Magazines of the Year” award from 1986 to 2006 and found that 34% of recipients failed within their first five years and 13 honorees were shuttered within their first year alone.

By way of comparison, another study shows that among all magazines published between 1985 and 2002, 90% have failed, and 50% never made it past their first anniversary. So although winning the Library Journal’s “Best New Magazines of the Year” award correlates with a reduced failure rate compared with the big field, the overall picture for magazines still isn’t exactly rosy.