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Essence Announces Move to Expanded, Bimonthly Print Issues

Essence Communications President Michelle Ebanks (L) and Essence Chief Content & Creative Officer Moana Luu speak onstage during the 2019 Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards Luncheon at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on February 21, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Aaron J. Thornton (Getty Images for Essence)

Starting next year, Essence magazine will move from a monthly to a bimonthly publishing schedule, signaling the end of an era while promising that the best is yet to come.

In a press release sent out Friday morning, the company announced that it will move to an “enhanced double issue” that will be printed six times a year, with an additional 80 pages per issue. The magazine will also produce four special-edition, collectible “book-a-zines,” which will be made available throughout next year.

The news follows Essence’s new magazine redesign, which will debut with its stunning September issue, starring Serena Williams.


“As we approach our 50th anniversary as a brand, we are grateful that ESSENCE continues to thrive in a class of its own—by tenure, by focus and by impact,” Michelle Ebanks, CEO of Essence Communications, said in a press release.

“We are making significant investments to innovate and elevate our magazine experience and further demonstrate our commitment to drive and reflect our culture, own our storytelling and direct our narrative to encompass the most inclusive, authentic and non-monolithic expression of who we are globally – capturing and reflecting our beauty, our power and our influence across the Diaspora,” she added.


The new formatting and schedule for Essence’s print magazine will be supplemented by a “a slate of immersive new content and digital integration,” the press release stated.

The move to fewer (albeit more robust) issues comes at a time when more and more glossies have taken their issues off newsstands and focused their efforts on their digital platforms. Late last year, Glamour announced it was ceasing its print issues altogether; Teen Vogue made the same transition the year before.


The move away from print magazines—either by volume or altogether—will undoubtedly make many readers nostalgic for the times their coffee and bedside tables were peopled with stacks of issues. This is particularly true of Essence and the unique place it held in black households and businesses for generations of readers. But the shift toward digital is reflective of the way more and more readers consume stories, particularly for millennial and Gen Z readers.

And while there may be fewer Essence issues a year, the magazine will also be available in more places. According to the company’s press release, it will be easier for Essence’s international readers to pick up a physical copy of the magazine, which, starting in September, will be available London and the Caribbean, as well as South Africa, Nigeria, Jamaica, Turks & Caicos, Brazil, Bermuda and Germany.

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