Mass-market, or general, periodicals are in the present age almost nonexistent. Except for a relative few, what one finds today are large numbers of magazines that have large circulations, but appeal to a specific audience or interest instead of being all things to large populations. In other words, in considering mass- market magazines, we find that the bulk of the titles appeals to fairly large populations within the much larger general population. Hence we have religious, children's, literary, men's, women's, sports, news, music, hobby, business, blacks', health, and fraternal magazines all capable of achieving circulations of more than 100,000 and many of more than a million. These magazines occupy a sort of middle ground between the true general magazines and the specialist magazines that require only a limited audience or circulation.
We have attempted to furnish periodical histories that in terms of length fall somewhere between those done by Frank Luther Mott in his seminal studies and the paragraph-length treatment in Magazines for Libraries, which is unfortunately often the only source of information available for many recent periodicals. In fact, to a large degree, the general publications from the late 1970s to the present are largely undocumented.
In some instances, general magazines of large circulations have not been included in this volume because while mass-market in terms of numbers, they are more accurately classed in another specific genre. Southern Living, for example, appears in a companion volume of the Historical Guides to the World's Periodicals and Newspapers series; Ebony is slated for another, as are Sports Illustrated and the majority of the "Women's Magazines." However, a generous selection of the more prominent examples of many mass-market titles has been included, if the focus was broad enough and the circulation high enough to warrant consideration. Others have been included if treatment in Mott was brief or incomplete, if other coverage was negligible, or if the title in question was somewhat unique in its focus.