Effective as of Wednesday, military exchanges are dropping Playboy, Penthouse, and 48 other adult sophisticate magazines from their shelves. But that’s only a fraction of the 891 total magazines that are being slashed to reduce space taken up by the printed publications in Army and Air Force Exchange Service stores.
The Washington Post said that anti-porn group Morality in Media was already celebrating the removal of the magazines as a victory against sexual exploitation. It wasn’t entirely clear why.
WaPo said that military staff will still be able to access Playboy and other porn websites on their computers or bring their own porn into their private living areas.
The real reason for removing Playboy, Penthouse, and magazines as different as SpongeBob Comics and the Saturday Evening Post is the collapse in sales of physical magazines. The industry has been in freefall for years thanks to the internet.
A brief report in the Verge actually got it right. They blamed the removal of the magazines not on morality but on customers refusing to buy on paper. what they can get on the internet.
Between 2012 and 2011 alone, the sale of magazine titles at the military exchanges fell by almost 14 percent. Adult titles like Playboy have fallen a stunning 86 percent since 1998. Nobody’s buying this stuff on paper and hauling it around any more. That’s what a thumbdrive is for.
Here’s a non-military example of just how far magazine sales have fallen.
Remember that awful Rolling Stone cover that featured the hottie Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev? Despite widespread anger among Americans about the image that seemed to honor the accused terrorist as a rock star, the publication recently revealed that they doubled their normal newsstand sales for that issue.
And how many sales was that? In 10 days, in a nation with a population of over 313 million, Rolling Stone sold a bit over 13,200 issues.
A pitiful fee for selling their soul. After they paid the reporter, the printing bill, and the distribution costs, you wonder if they had two nickels left over to clink together in their cash register.
It looks like the military exchanges might as well remove not just Playboy but all the paper from the shelves. The world has moved on.
[magazine stand by Lisa Padilla via Flickr, Creative Commons]