Publisher’s Weekly: Real Cover, Fake Cover

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Fake cover

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Real cover

 


We’ve all seen ads that are designed to look like magazine articles. These advertorials usually look like the magazine’s editorial content, often in the form of product reviews. Advertorials carry the word “advertisement” at the top of the page. The idea is to falsely imply to the reader that the product is endorsed by the magazine. I believe that advertorials are inherently deceptive.

In an apparently new development, Publisher’s Weekly gives us an ad that is disguised as an entire magazine cover. When I received this issue, I thought they were doing a special piece about the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad. When I turned the page, I saw the real cover. I went back and looked at the fake cover and indeed, there was the word “advertisement” at the top of the page.

Running an ad for a book is one thing. Blurring the lines between advertising and magazine content to the point of running phony magazine covers that are actually ads implies that Publisher’s Weekly is somehow endorsing Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Since Publisher’s Weekly covers the publishing industry, this smacks of a conflict of interest to me.

I understand that the publishing industry has fallen on hard times and magazines have to grab a buck where they can get it. Still, it’s not like this magazine is inexpensive to subscribe to. As a matter of fact, I had to end my trial subscription because I can’t afford the $180 annual subscription fee.

Maybe I’m the only one left who thinks it’s better to go down in flames with your head held high than to compromise one’s integrity for money. While Publisher’s Weekly using fake covers that are ads doesn’t signal the start of the decline of Western civilization, it’s a trick.

I don’t like tricks.

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