Wrecking ReadyMade in One Easy Step?
More sad news from the publishing bloodbath: ReadyMade is packing its repurposed-pocket lint-bags and heading to Iowa. The Berkeley-based hipster D.I.Y. magazine is one of the most creative reads to come out of the independent magazine scene; it has a can-do cool that inspires even those readers who don't think of themselves as all that crafty. In 2006, it was acquired by the Meredith Corporation, the Des Moines-based publisher of vanilla standards like Ladies' Home Journal and Family Circle. Now, as part of a round of corporate apron string-tightening, Meredith has decided to "relocate" the magazine's art and edit departments to Des Moines. The move, says a company spokesman, will allow RM to "take advantage of the assets we have in Des Moines, like the photo studio and the test kitchen." Because, you know, it's hard to find those in the Bay Area.
The Midwest move may look great on a balance sheet, but it's hard to imagine it doing any favors for RM and its readers. Not that there might not be lots of craftiness in the Hawkeye State (corn-husk coffee tables, perhaps?) but I'd guess that this means the magazine's going to lose most of its core creative team along with its sense of place. It's painful to see yet another instance of a media corporation taking a successful publication and shortsightedly messing with the very secret of its success. (The magazine has clearly been doing something right: Founder and editor Shoshana Berger recently said that it has tripled its readership.) Here's hoping that the old ReadyMade survives its makeover.