Two Letters From Two Women

As I make my way through another issue of an antique Needlecraft Magazine, I found an interesting article on two letters to the editor in regards to the advertisements found in the magazine.

There’s a couple of reasons I found these letters to the editor to be interesting – one, namely, being that I absolutely love cutting up magazines for crafts and collage, and yes – one of the things I actually like to cut up the most are the advertisements!

Many great “articles” you might find in a magazine are actually not even really articles at all, they are actually advertorials.

Of course, as a digital publisher with 15 years content marketing experience, I also have a lot of thoughts about advertisements in general as well, especially in the realm of today’s digital publishing.

As you have probably noticed on this website, most of my blogs and websites are ad-supported. This is something I’ve wrestled with quite a good bit as a blogger – advertisements allow me to offer my content for free to those who may not otherwise be able to afford to access it. However, I know they can sometimes be distracting or even annoying.

Like the editor of the Needlecraft magazine, I myself have also gotten plenty of comments and feedback over my 15 years of digital publishing about ads. Some of my readers are very much like the first woman, writing me comments and emails wishing I didn’t have so many ads.

While I can’t recall ever getting any emails from anyone thanking me for ads, I do know that after having surveyed my readers on multiple occasions, most will agree the ads don’t bother them at all if it means they can enjoy all the free resources we share.

Many would otherwise not be able to spare $5 a month, and while that seems crazy that one could not spare a few bucks, in a world where subscriptions are getting out of control and becoming the norm, I totally understand it.

While I do understand hating ads – I think people fail to realize that most of the creators they love + enjoy rely on those ads for feeding their families, keeping a roof over their head, putting kids through college, and having money to help others. Most of the money a publisher makes also goes into taxes, which goes into funding public programs.

If ads bother you, perhaps this article from the magazine with the two letters from two women regarding ads, will help give you a new perspective next time you see ads on your favorite blog or website. You could be missing a great opportunity for joy!

So, without further ado, here is the original article of the letters to the editor from the June 1923 Needlecraft issue:

Two Letters From Two Women

“You have asked sometimes what your subscribers think of Needlecraft. Well, I don’t mind saying that the only thing I don’t like about it is that you print so many advertisements. I think the space could be much better taken up with crochet, tatting and such things, or hints about fancy work. I wouldn’t do without the magazine for anything, but I think this would be a great improvement, and feel quite certain all the other readers will agree with me.”

That is one letter –– a part of it; and it was written, we know, by a woman sincere in her belief and kind of heart, albeit a trifle narrow as to her viewpoint. We thank her for letting us know what she thinks of Needlecraft.

Here is the other letter; and so many do we receive of similar import, with scarcely enough to count on the other side, that we feel justified in declaring that very, very few of our subscribers are in accord with the views first set forth:

“Needlecraft is a treasure. While I haven’t time to make a tenth part of the lovely things it contains I do manage some of them, as my home bears witness. I plan to make at least one article from each magazine during the current month. And I read –– literally study –– the advertisements.

Last winter for several weeks I was unable to accomplish my monthly stint of needlework–not really ailing, but nervous and out of sorts after a little hospital experience. Perhaps you will like to know what I did –– I answered the advertisements!

I wrote for samples and leaflets, catalogues and cookbooks, and general information, and my requests were complied with so promptly and courteously that I felt as if I were getting acquainted with ‘really-truly’ friends.

It was all very interesting, and I learned many things; and the days of convalescence passed quickly and happily –– with watching to see what the mail would bring.

Now whenever I see the same advertisements elsewhere I think to myself, ‘Why, I know those people,’ and when I go to the stores to buy different articles I naturally ask for the things I have learned about, whether tooth- paste or scouring-soap, knitting-yarn or breakfast-food!

This suggestion might help others –– if you think so, please print it. Personally, I’m grateful to Needlecraft for its good advertisements as well as the lovely needlework it gives us.

–– Letters to the Editor, June 1923 Needlecraft Magazine

As far as print magazine advertisements go, I can’t help but think I agree with the second woman. I really do enjoy advertisements, and especially love learning about new smaller businesses that you’ll see advertising in various trade magazines.

And, it gets me thinking about the digital ads we see so often today. How quick we are to just scroll past them or even ignore them. What if we were to give the advertisers a little more attention? See what they are offering? Would we find new products we love and enjoy? Would we feel as if we’ve made new friends?

It’s a great point to think about in the digital advertising industry itself, whether you are a publisher or are an advertiser.

What do you think? Do you like ads or not? Do you have differing opinions on magazine ads vs. online ads? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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