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Blood pythons graced the cover of REPTILES magazine in January 1996.
The first issue of REPTILES magazine was published in October 1993. It’s hard for me to believe it was that long ago, but cover dates don’t lie. And since then the reptilekeeping hobby has been revolutionized. And if I may toot the magazine’s horn just a little, I think it played a huge role in growing the hobby. Sure I’m biased, but it’s true. I remember I was at the National Reptile Breeders Expo years ago, and one of the breeders (I can’t remember who it was), gestured at the expo floor and said, “This is because of REPTILES magazine.” I wouldn’t go so far as to say that myself, and I certainly am not trying to say that the magazine deserves undue credit. But it does deserve some.
REPTILES, due to the distribution might of its publisher, BowTie Inc., was able to get into more pet owners’ hands than any previously published reptile literature, and this went a long way in making the keeping of reptiles a more mainstream hobby. Having a regular monthly magazine helps legitimize a hobby, and it gives a hobby a voice. That’s what REPTILES did, and continues to do. Other reptile magazines have come and gone but REPTILES is still here (knock wood).
Some people criticize the magazine as being a “beginner” magazine. I guess such critics think an article is worthless unless it’s 10,000 words in length, and populated with enough footnotes and references to make one’s head swim. Never mind that the majority of readers won’t bother wading through such articles, especially the tens of thousands of people who simply think reptiles make cool pets and who keep them for that reason. Sure, there’s a place for exhaustive, technical articles, but it’s not in a consumer magazine like REPTILES. I’ve been working in this business long enough to know the types of articles most people want to read. There are three important questions they want answered: What is it? Can I get it? How do I keep it alive? Those are the three primary questions on most readers’ minds, and we always try to address them in our animal-specific articles, and they can usually be answered fairly succinctly. Take too long to tell people and you risk boring them.
It may sound as if I’m offended that the magazine is considered a beginner magazine by some people. I will admit it puzzles me, especially when you examine the wide range of topics we cover – everything from common to more rare animals, conservation issues, venomous snakes, etc. People who say that seem to think a magazine for beginner enthusiasts is something to look down upon. However, I think beginner hobbyists are among the most important denizens of the reptilekeeping world. They’re the new blood. We need them. Without them this hobby will die. Why not cater to them? Not that I believe REPTILES does, but it definitely does not seek to exclude them, as some people seem to want us to do to be worthwhile in their eyes.
I think REPTILES is for everybody, from beginners to doddering old herpetologists drooling in their wheelchairs who can’t read it without the aid of a telescope. Like the title of this blog says, REPTILES magazine is for all!
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