The online community of knife collectors, A Knife Family Forged in Steel
I notice a lot of members, at least a lot of new members, don't subscribe to any knife magazines. For those who do not subscribe or otherwise purchase knife magazines, I was just curious why not? (That's a sincere question, by the way, there is no judgment implied.)
For those who do subscribe to knife magazines, I'm curious as to which one or ones?
At one point, I had subscriptions to Blade, Knives Illustrated, Knife World, & Tactical Knives. Tactical Knives was my favorite because they also tended to feature non-tactical outdoor knives by contemporary manufacturers (like TOPS & ESEE, for example) as well as really great authors like Brian Griffin & Steven Dick. Tactical Knives folded a few years ago, which was a bummer, but Knives Illustrated has, fortunately, somewhat moved into the void left by Tactical Knives, especially with authors like Joshua Swanagon, Joe Flowers, & Reuben Bolieu (there actually has been a lot of overlap with authors among both of these publications).
I subscribed to Knife World until it folded. When it was resurrected as Knife Magazine, I tried to get into it, but the oversized format just turned me off, primarily because they're just harder to store. It's unfortunate, but I likely would subscribe if Knives had a standard 8.5" x 11" or so format.
I subscribed to Blade Magazine up until two or three years ago. It always irritated me when the magazine would refer to a well-known knife maker as "Blade Cutlery Hall-of-Fame knifemaker" Bob Loveless (or whoever) when the person held this status. In my eyes, it was Blade's way of taking ownership of the accomplishments performed by the knifemaker, even when the magazine had zilch to do with the knifemaker's success (which was usually the case). There came a point at which I realized I was only interested in one or two of the knives featured in Blade in any given issue (sometimes not even that). Add to that the editor Steve Shackleford's propensity to being a jerk when someone disagrees with his often very narrow opinions, & I found no reason to continue subscribing to Blade. I had hopes for the magazine when a new editor came on board, but it looks like she might be gone now & Shackleford's back, so I won't be.
Knives Illustrated is the only knife publication to which I currently subscribe. They have great authors, & I like that they focus more on outdoors/bushcraft knives than any other publication ever has, at least in the last decade or so, including Tactical Knives. Unfortunately, Knives Illustrated has begun to focus quite a lot in the last year on knives that are outside most knife enthusiasts' budgets, with the most recent issue being the worst case of this that I've seen. Most of the featured knives were made by smaller manufacturers (as in, spendy & unavailable), & the knives ranged in price from $145 to $600, with the bulk of the knives being in the $300 range). I can't afford that, & I'm guessing I'm not the only one. I've read plenty of article about Chris Reeve knives, & even high-end art knives, none of which I'm likely to be able to afford anytime soon -- but only because these articles were interspersed between articles about knives by Kershaw, CRKT, Buck, Boker, Cold Steel, Schrade, as well as TOPS & ESEE & White River Knives -- knives that might require some saving up, but still within the realm of purchase possibility. I will likely continue my subscription to KI, but I've already sent them a letter to the editor, & I'm not against cancelling the subscription in the future -- which I'll do if the magazine becomes mere clutter.
Knife publications are certainly in a difficult spot right now financially, & obviously many problems flow from there. No publication is likely to survive without a strong & interactive online presence (the kind advertisers like & will spend money to advertise on), but there is a question as to how long hard copy publications will be able to continue, even for Blade, the best-funded of these publications -- especially as younger generations become the target demographic.
In any case, I would encourage knife enthusiasts to subscribe to a knife publication, even if just for a year. Alternating subscriptions are also viable -- Knife Magazine one year, Knives Illustrated the next, Blade Magazine the next. I'm not concerned about supporting the knife industry (many articles & write-ups are clearly advertisements in another form), but rather about knife writing, as well as knife enthusiasts being informed consumers. While knife companies are definitely beneficiaries of the existence of these publications, knife collectors, users, & buyers also have quite a bit to gain by reading, thinking about, questioning, and even testing some of the assertions made in these publications. There's a lot to learn, especially when the reader can separate objective information from mere advertisement.
What do you think? I'd love to hear others' opinions on knife publications -- & I'm sure I'm not the only one.
You have captured my interest with this one. I would love to see some input, enough so that I am going to send out an email. I tend to agree with a lot of what you have stated. My magazine of choice is Knife Magazine, not only are they a supporter here but I do very much like most of the writers and their styles. Bryan W tends to like lesser known masters and brings me to those knives with his style. Bruce Voyles has long been a favorite and of course, Mark Z. He was the first knife writer I began to follow many many moons ago and I still look forward to his works today.
What I learn from these articles is not something I can get from a 5-7 minute you tube video. For me, each issue is like going to a mini knife show. At the shows I like to talk to the folks, find out about the knives, hear the stories.
It has taken me many years to get on board with the more modern knives and once interested I thought I was behind the ball on this one. I soon discovered it just gave me more to learn, more stories to hear and makers to discover. All of this is what I get from our in print friends.
I hope you all take a moment, chose one, subscribe. Most will send you a free trial copy. Why not do that, decide which suits you best?
I subscribe to Knife Magazine. I have been a subscriber since it was Knife World. I have kept every issue since my subscription started. I got started on Knife Magazine by winning a years subscription in a contest here on iKC.
Without hesitation for me it is Knife Magazine... I like articles with some historical perspective and that fits quite well with my collecting habits or is it obsession ;-)) .. I actually quite like the large format and color photos of Knife Magazine in contrast to the newspaper format that was Knife World though also enjoyed the older issue content just as much... My perception is that the other magazines for me are too focused on aspects of knives that don't interest me as much such as modern tacticals etc - though Knife Magazine has a great variety of articles including modern knives that would catch somebody's interest and focus - ie something for everybody.. I think as alluded to above there is no right or wrong answers and that is the great thing about knife collecting and "knives" in general...
Thanks to everyone for their support, I really appreciate it.
I'd like to clarify a couple of comments above. First of all, KNIFE WORLD did NOT "fold". I was finally able to purchase the business I had run for 18 years, and as soon as we were able to get our ducks in a row we changed the publication's format to what you see with KNIFE Magazine -- an upscale version of KNIFE WORLD with full color throughout and on quality paper stock.
Some have asked why I changed the name. The reason was: after 38 years of existence, I felt everyone in the industry already knew what KNIFE WORLD was, and that it would be easier to catch folks' attention with a new name rather than try to tell them that KNIFE WORLD was different now.
The size has been a major factor in our success -- our advertisers LOVE it. Not everyone loves it, but I'm going to tell you something that most people don't realize... here it comes... KNIFE Magazine is smaller than KNIFE WORLD was. Not by much, but a little. The difference is that KNIFE WORLD came folded in half -- so if size is an issue for you, just fold your KNIFE Magazine in half. Or put them in a legal size filing cabinet, that's what we store them in.
Those of you who liked the old Blade and Knives Illustrated magazines: Bruce Voyles writes two columns a month for us. You liked Tactical Knives? Steven Dick freelances for us, he had an article in the September issue and is working on another. Bernard Levine still contributes a Whut Izzit column every month. And we're not done. I hired another employee three weeks ago and while we're not putting it out front yet, I'll bet a lot of you know who he is.
Anyway, thanks to our many supporters. We just completed our 36th issue of KNIFE Magazine, three years in -- and we have more projects in the works, so stay tuned...
I would if they a) Actually sent their magazines to Canada. b) For those that do, if they didn't charge almost $20 per magazine due to shipping. ;-) Half the time or more, I can't even get catalogues sent to me....lol.
A Canadian subscription to KNIFE Magazine is $50/year, or $4.17 per issue.
Mark...I think that is the most reasonable price I have seen.
Than you Steve -- we set up our out-of-country subscriptions at about a break-even price, just to get them out there. Del Corsi has also profiled several Canadian makers, Wally Hayes was the most recent. We are trying to add a bit of international flair, here and there -- not a lot but certainly more than in the past.
That is an issue we have discussed before, Canada is hard to get even a catalog shipped to. The costs are prohibitive. Now, I know that Germany has at least one knife magazine but they also have the audience to accept and sustain it. I was hoping we would hear from more of the members that do not subscribe, I would like to hear why. Seems most of us do so for close to, if not the same, reasons.
I knew that Knife Magazine was an advertiser on iKC, but it's really cool that Mark Zalesky is actually part of this conversation. Thank you, Jan, for sending out an email with a link to this post!
Mark, thanks for the clarification on the Knife World to Knife Magazine transition, and I apologize for my misunderstanding of it. As I recall, there was a break between the end of Knife World and the beginning of Knife Magazine. I knew you played a role in both, but I'll certainly admit I was not following as closely as some others were. With the change in ownership, change in format, change in name, & the lapse in publication, & without doing any research on the company's business or tax filings, I simply did not know that what appeared to be two distinct businesses were actually the same entity.
But it is clear that you wanted to revamp the publication's style, image, & offerings, which you've definitely done successfully.
I'm glad things are going well with the advertisers, that's crucial.
And I very much appreciate that you have published Steven Dick.
I am curious about your target market. Knife World / Knife Magazine appear to be generally focused (versus the special focus of Tactical Knives Magazine), but your content is decidedly different than that of Blade Magazine. Which is why I'm wondering if there is different demographic you're trying to reach.
I'd also love to hear your critiques of Blade Magazine, though I can certainly understand if you'd prefer not to, for professional reasons.
I used to edit a monthly knife club newsletter (much different scale, but also a much smaller budget -- but it was fun to have more incentive to write about knives, which I tried to do at least monthly back then). I also spent about a decade writing legal material, so I'm no stranger to writing, editing, & even publishing.
I meant no offense by what I wrote about Knife Magazine in this post, but from your response I'm afraid I may have done that. I'd be happy to offer more of my thoughts on Knife Magazine, either on this forum or to you directly Mark, because I have had more thoughts about Knife World / Knife Magazine over the years.
Let me know, I'd be happy to help, or not, as you'd prefer. Except when it comes to shipping to Canada, I can't help there. :)
LOL DLKG, I wish anyone could help with shipping to Canada I have to send a package this week. Sometimes I find it less for a friend to send the package here and I forward it
Writing for Knife World and now KNIFE Magazine for almost 10 years, I guess I am a little biased. (Please note that there was no "lapse" in the production of the magazine(s) during the changeover. It may have been a week or a couple days, but there was definitely no slowdown of any kind!)
Personally, some of the other magazines I find disappointing in the sense that they are VERY ad-based and quite overwhelming with more ads than content. I am proud to say KNIFE Magazine is not one of those publications. KNIFE Magazine works very hard to keep the content and variety interesting, exciting and varied to interest as many readers as possible. You may not find every single article to your exact interest, but I am sure you can find more than one in each issue that you will read from start to finish.
Overall, I would recommend to folks to continue to support the knife community as much as possible, to ask the questions and provide the feedback, and enjoy! "Knife folks" are simply the best folks out there - thank you for your involvement in this awesome hobby!