There were 335 new magazines launched in 2008.

There were 634 new magazines launched in 2008.

Or, there were 191 new magazine launches announced in 2008.

Exactly how many, it seems, depends on who’s counting.

According to MediaFinder.com─an online database of U.S. and Canadian magazines—335 were launched in 2008, with health titles accounting for 31 of them. There were 389 new titles launched last year, according to the site.

According to University of Mississippi professor Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni, 634 new magazines launched through November. The “hot categories,” Husni said, continue to be “crafts, homes, metro and sports—same as last year.”

In the last four months, he said, there has been somewhat of a surge in launch activity.

But Husni, who tracks launches monthly on his Web site, noted that the number of magazines published with a frequency of four or more is 191, down from 233 during the same period in 2007. (Husni stressed he only counts consumer titles and only the ones he has physical copies of, in hand.)

From ‘WSJ.’ to Beer

According to the Magazine Publishers of America’s “New & Noted” setion of its Web site, there were 191 magazine launches—with titles ranging from the Wall Street Journal’s ‘WSJ.’ to Beer—announced in 2008, down from 271 in 2007.

If there’s a number everyone can agree on, however, it’s that print magazine launches are, not surprisingly, on the decline.

Between January and November 2006, there were 842 magazine launches by Husni’s count, and 636 during the same period in 2007.

According to MediaFinder, the second “hottest” category was regional, with 24 new titles—such as Michigan avenue cropping up in ’08. (Although regional was also one of the biggest decliners, down from 42 new launches a year ago.)

Despite the downturn in the economy, magazines serving health, regional, and food interests continued to show growth, “as there continues to be interest in topics close to home,” said Trish Hagood, president of Oxbridge Communications, which publishes MediaFinder.com.

Noted Husni: “A lot of the new titles are being published twice or three times a year for some reason.”