Seventeen Becomes Another Magazine to Ditch Print, & I'm Not OK

Seventeen announced Monday it will be limiting its print frequency to “special issues.” While the Hearst teen lifestyle magazine’s transition to digital doesn’t come as a surprise, it still marks the end of an era for teen magazines.

In 2017, Teen Vogue announced that it would no longer run its print editions amid rumors of declining sales. Unlike Teen Vogue, Seventeen will still run print for "special stand-alone issues pegged to news events and key moments in readers’ lives,” according to a report from WWD. But this still begs the question: What’s in store for subscribers?

Letting go of my Seventeen subscription has been at the bottom of my to-do-list for the last three years. Can a 20-year-old be subscribed to both Seventeen and Cosmopolitan? Was she betraying her teen years for moving on, or was she begrudgingly holding onto something that she desperately needed to let go of? It doesn’t matter anymore, since the publication and the state of print media made the decision for me. Seventeen's announcement definitely wasn’t a surprise. Since 2014, the magazine has become thinner and thinner. The first sign of trouble for a print magazine is when the issues begin to shrink in size. It signals the drop in advertising, which signals the drop in readership. I knew it was only a matter of time that Seventeen would follow suit, but I hoped otherwise. But this was not the first time the magazine cut its frequency. In 2016, the Hearst publication shifted from 10 annual issues to six in an attempt to focus on "key life moments." Without even realizing it, this marked the beginning of the end.

When I received my October/November 2018 issue just a few weeks ago, I had no idea it would be my second to last of my subscription. Though print isn’t gone forever for the brand, there is no knowing when the first “special issue” will come along. Will these special issues be sent to subscribers who never received an entire year of service? The site currently deters any new subscriptions with three words: No offers available. While I don’t have all of the answers, I know one thing –– my heart isn’t ready for the December/January issue.

Saying goodbye to my first magazine subscription doesn’t just mark the end of my teen years. It marks the end of 74 years of print for a magazine that changed the game and brought teens into the picture. Since 1944, Seventeen has pioneered the magazine industry toward the inclusion of teens, sparking an entire industry of its own, 59 years before Teen Vogue was even in production.

If six years ago, you had asked me where I saw myself after college, you would hear one word: Seventeen. While it breaks my heart to know that I will never be able to work in the print department, I look forward to what comes. When Teen Vogue shifted from print to digital, a change in content came along with it. Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle are still staple sections of the Teen Vogue brand, but so is News & Politics. Since implementing its focus on digital, the magazine grew an entire new audience that acknowledged that teens can have an interest in both fashion and politics.

Here’s to hoping that Seventeen follows Teen Vogue into the future.