I read CAD magazines for two main reasons: to get news and to read product reviews. I am sure there are other uses for magazines but these two are what I use them for. I do not pay for any of the magazines I receive, even though I am in India. The advertisers bear that cross.
In recent years, magazines seem to be losing their punch. With news feeds I get the news as it happens, not when my postman decides to give it to me. With blogs I get product reviews and comments which seem to be more authentic than the ones we read in magazines, to put it mildly. I have much better things to do with my time than read a news item or a product review in a magazine, when people have already read, analyzed, dissected and commented about it much earlier in the online world.
Also, I find it interesting how the CAD media questions the numbers that the CAD vendors occasionally release showing their install base. Publications flaunt their readership numbers to attract advertisers. If the readers were made to pay for the magazines (instead of the advertisers) we would get a true number for readership, that is, the number of people who are actually willing to spend their time and money to read the magazines and hence may end up reading the advertisements in them.
Just because someone downloads a trial or is given a free educational version of a software, it doesn’t mean that he is going to use it. Similarly, just because someone is shipped a free magazine, it doesn’t mean he is going to read it.
I recently came across a term called “shelfware“. I guess you could use the same logic for free magazines as well.
Just my $0.02