Kurt McKee

lessons learned in production

Hey there! This article was written in 2005.

It might not have aged well for any number of reasons, so keep that in mind when reading (or clicking outgoing links!).

PC World - Worth it?

Posted 1 November 2005

While waiting for a connecting flight, I picked up a copy of the November 2005 edition of PC World to find out how much magazine I would get for my buck. The magazine cost me $7.00, which was a tad overpriced for the quantity and quality of the publication.

QUANTITY

One hundred and twenty-four full-page ads. 124 pages of ads! There were also four (4) half-page ads, and three ads printed on one-third of the page. The total number of pages of ads was one hundred and twenty-seven (127).

With only 200 pages cover-to-cover, only 36.5% of the magazine was content. Going off just the percentages, I paid $4.45 for ads. I have to assume that PC World is making a profit off of those ads, however, so if I'm only paying for content then each page of content cost me just short of ten cents.

QUALITY

Is the content worth ten cents per page? Not really. The cover proclaimed "Free Stuff for Windows - 10 Essential Add-ons", but fell short with freeware recommendations that let you rearrange buttons on your taskbar. Brilliant.

The magazine is also obstinately mainstream at every opportunity. Ogg Vorbis is dismissed as a "geek-cred audio codec", Atom is an "up-and-coming alternative RSS", and reader mail is published with choice lines like "How about an article on the benefits that Windows provides? Or at least stop bagging on Microsoft once in a while." Or how about this one? "Linux I can understand as a PC alternative (in five or ten years), but Mac?"

SUMMARY

If I had stars like Dan does, I would give PC World 1 out of 5 stars. Bottom line - the magazine is dominated by ads, and it never strays from the mainstream. At least it's expensive, so you have the illusion of buying quality.

BONUS! Catch phrases you won't find in stores!

PC World - For people who like hearing the same thing over and over.
PC World - Don't hate us because we're relevant.
PC World - Because cool new stuff scares you.
PC World - "PC Shills" sounded bad.