Harper’s Magazine

Publication analysis

About the publication

Title: Harper’s Magazine

ISSN: 0017-789X1

Purpose, objective, or mission:Harper’s Magazine, the oldest general-interest monthly in America, explores the issues that drive our national conversation, through long-form narrative journalism and essays, and such celebrated features as the iconic Harper’s Index. With its emphasis on fine writing and original thought Harper’s provides readers with a unique perspective on politics, society, the environment, and culture.”2

“Our mission is to inform, to argue, to interest and to question conventional wisdom. In doing this, we establish an emotional bond with readers, drawing them into the pages and challenging them to think differently on the widest possible spectrum of topics.” 3

Website: http://harpers.org/

Target audience: According to the 2016 Media Kit, Harper’s speaks to “readers looking for perspectives not generally found in mainstream media. Harper’s is “written with the belief that readers still care about issues, are still willing to risk changing their views and are still willing to participate in our democracy.”4

Publisher: Current publisher is John R. MacArthur, with Harper’s Magazine Foundation. 5

Peer reviewed? No.6

Type: Civilian.

Medium: Print and online.

Content: Essays, fiction, and reporting. Topics covered include politics, society, the environment, and culture. 7

Frequency of publication: Monthly 8

About the publication’s submission guidelines

Location of submission guidelines: Submissions Information can be found here:  http://harpers.org/submissions/

Types of contributions accepted: According to their website, “Writers wishing to submit nonfiction to Harper’s Magazine are invited to send queries to the address below, accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. The magazine will neither consider nor return unsolicited nonfiction manuscripts. Harper’s will consider unsolicited fiction. Unsolicited poetry will not be considered or returned. 9

Submission and review process: All fiction submissions and nonfiction queries must be sent by mail to:

Harper’s Magazine.
666 Broadway, 11th Floor
New York, NY 1001210

Editorial tone: This magazine’s tone lends itself to high literary thought. Harper’s prides itself “on (its) fine writing and original thought, (and) provides readers with a unique perspective on politics, society, the environment, and culture.”11

Style guide used: None offered.

Conclusion: Evaluation of publication’s potential for LIS authors

Although this publication does not accept unsolicited nonfiction, potential contributors are invited to send nonfiction queries. The LIS author may win a solicitation for nonfiction if the query is unusual and exceptional enough to pique the editor’s interest. As unsolicited fiction will be considered, this may provide a more realistic opportunity for the LIS writer. A work of fiction that involves libraries or library issues could prove to be a unique contribution to this forum. Although this is not a scholarly publication, Harper’s has been in publication for 170 years and enjoys a prestigious position in the literary publishing industry.


Audience analysis

About the publication’s readers

Publication circulation: According to its 2020 Media Kit, Harper’s  has a “total audience” of over 600,000.12

Audience location and language or cultural considerations: It seems that the readership is primarily based in the United States, there is an international subscription option that is also available.13 The magazine is published in English.

Reader characteristics: Ratio of readership is 66% male and 34% female, with a median age of 48 years old. Mean household income is $116,200, with professional or managerial careers represented by 26.75% of readers. Readers are educated, with 39% holding post-graduate degrees. Readers are presented as more cultured and well-traveled than the average American with comparison statistics outlined in the Media Kit.14

Reader knowledge of LIS subject matter: Most readers are unlikely to have extensive knowledge of LIS subject matter. However, as this is an affluent, informed, and intelligent audience, they have likely formed opinions on general LIS topics.

Conclusion: Analysis of reader characteristics and their potential impact on authors

Readers of Harper’s Magazine are a highly educated, affluent group. They have graduate degrees, are professionals and managers, and are financially well-off. They are a politically- and civically-engaged audience. In its Media Kit for advertisers, Harper’s bills itself as a “tool for change, a place for ideas and the people who have them. We attract the finest writers today and encourage them to do their best.”15

For these reasons, authors’ queries and submissions should be unique, well-written, directed to a well-educated audience, and limited in library jargon. The LIS writer who can provide a different viewpoint, that challenges mainstream thinking, would find an engaged audience at Harper’s Magazine.

Last updated: September 8, 2020


Show 15 footnotes

  1.  Harper’s Magazine, WorldCat, accessed September 8, 2020, https://www.worldcat.org/title/harpers-monthly-magazine/oclc/803607184
  2. “About.”, Harpers.org, accessed September 8, 2020, http://harpers.org/about
  3. “2016 Media Kit.,” Harpers.org, accessed September 8, 2020, http://harpers.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/2016-Media-Kit.pdf
  4. “2016 Media Kit.”
  5. “About.”
  6. “Submissions Information.”, Harpers.org, accessed September 8, 2020, http://harpers.org/submissions/
  7. “About.”
  8. “About.”
  9. “Submissions Information.”
  10. “Submissions Information.”
  11. “About.”
  12. “2020 Media Kit.”, Harpers.org, accessed September 8, 2020, https://harpers.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Harpers-Magazine-2020-Media-Kit.pdf
  13. “Subscribe.”, Harpers.org, accessed September 8, 2020, https://w1.buysub.com/pubs/HS/PRS/USCanada_Subscription_wDiscount_v2.jsp?cds_page_id=235595&cds_mag_code=PRS&id=1599597480653&lsid=32521538006082768&vid=1
  14. “2016 Media Kit.”
  15. “2016 Media Kit.”
Comments are closed.