Everyone Can Now Become A Magazine Publisher

- - The Future

“Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.”
— A.J. Liebling

And with that lofty quote begins the dawn of a new age in magazine publishing (or maybe just a cool new promo tool) because HP Labs just launched a new print on demand magazine publishing service called MagCloud (here) which looks to be the bee’s knees from where I’m standing. They use HP Indigo technology to custom-print each issue when it’s ordered on 80lb paper with saddle-stitched covers.

Now I can finally launch that magazine I’ve always dreamt of called “killed,” where I round up all the shoots and photographs those bastard wouldn’t let me run and publish ’em myself. That’ll show ’em.

Anyway, I’ll need to do some investigation to see if this actually is viable and economically feasible for short run printing of magazines but it looks very promising indeed. Not to mention the fact that printing on demand saves a whole lot of wasted paper by not guessing how many people will read an issue.

There Are 17 Comments On This Article.

  1. Do you remember Outtakes, published by Peter Howe and Howard Chapnik (I think) in the early 90’s? It was a brilliant thing, black and white on newsprint, with just unpublished stories – outtakes. I saved all my issues.
    You should do Killed dammit! I would want to read it.

  2. This sounds awesome. When I went there, it said it was only in the Beta stage and I couldn’t get an idea of pricing to print. You have any clue about that???

  3. @Kristina: I didn’t see Outtakes but I’m clearly not alone in this frustration.

    @Michael: I asked for a beta invite so I can investigate for the blog. I’ll see what the cost looks like and printing quality.

  4. The thing that will harm this, in the beginning, is the cost. A 40 page magazine costs about $14. Granted, there is no advertising to subsidize this cost, but initially someone who buys a magazine from this service will be very enthusiastic about the purchase. If it catches on then maybe the economies of scale will start bringing the costs down.

  5. You’d think HP could afford a better website for this thing …

    How is this different than Blurb or LuLu? Is it a unique printing/binding process?

  6. warmdriver

    Advertisements are a major lure for magazine buyers, and why not? At least in fashion, many of the best and most talked-about photography is appearing in campaigns.

    Stephen Gan created Visionaire, and then V, with a brilliant, reverent, attitude about advertising and advertisers, and how the relationship and tension between art and commerce has historically been responsible for the most compelling content.

    If these independent ventures are hatched within a vacuum, can they ever amount to something more than vanity endeavors?

    My guess is that shooters and creative directors with strong commercial track records and tight relationships with corporate clients could make an interesting go at a new paradigm of commercial one-offs sponsored by adventurous “partners” (meaning forward-thinking advertisers).

    But then isn’t that just the beginning of the same thing all over again? Even in this terrible climate for print, as the audience steadily migrates toward the web, great photography still — as it always has — makes it to the surface.

    Does it really need to be so easy for anyone who wants to to create his own magazine?

  7. I looked at some of the already existing magazines and of course looked at the photography section. It looks as of right now most people confused it with a photo book. Not really a sign of a great photography magazine (yet). Sent them a request for an invite as well because it could be something interesting depending on how the publisher can influence the pricing.


  8. “My guess is that shooters and creative directors with strong commercial track records and tight relationships with corporate clients could make an interesting go at a new paradigm of commercial one-offs sponsored by adventurous “partners” (meaning forward-thinking advertisers).”

    sounds like Magnum’s FASHION MAGAZINE.

  9. I could be wrong, but isn’t this model kinda like Cafe Press? Where the production costs are paid for when your marked-up piece is actually sold? It seems like it doesn’t cost a dime to create your magazine with this thing.

    MagCloud seems like a good way to test your magazine idea. I’ve found that starting a magazine is alot like starting a restaurant: too many people fall in love with the idea of owning a restaurant because they love the idea of treating their friends to dinner even more. They don’t have a hole in their soul that can only be filled by making people happy with a great restaurant experience – they just want the glamorous benefits of cracking open bottles of wine and sitting at the chef’s table with their friends. That’s why the same banks that won’t make restaurant loans won’t make magazine loans, either.

    If you think you’ve got a great magazine idea that fulfills a need in your chosen category, do this MagCloud thing and figure out how to market it in ways that draws people to the MagCloud site. If you succeed, you may want to seriously consider a career move.

    If nothing else, maybe MagCloud will allow me the perfect retort to “Hey, y’know I had this GREAT idea for a magazine…”

  10. My idea was for a magazine called Front of Book that would be nothing but single left-hand page editorial with right-hand page ads.

  11. I read about this yesterday and have been coming back to the idea over and over trying to understand if this is a viable way to start or even run a publication. My short conclusion at this point and time? No.

    To answer some of the above questions really fast in the comments here, the printing isn’t going to be special or new or great – it’s the standard 80lb glossy saddle stitched. In the press release that was sent out about this service, the publisher will have the option to mark-up the book in order to make a profit off of what it will cost to make them, ship them, etc. As for being a great place for a one-off that you had an idea for, I can’t tell yet if this is that sort of thing. With it being in Beta, they’re being choosy about who they pick to print. Will it stay this way, where you’ll have to propose in the future? Something I read made it sound like they only wanted books that they knew would have a moderate purchase rate which defeats the idea of single-issue publishing to me. And I hope I’m not coming off as completely negative to the idea, I’m just looking at it from both theirs and ours (publishers) perspectives and I’m not seeing the “opportunity” yet.

    One of the things I’ve read about this is how they say everyone can become a magazine publisher with no costs! Well how do you purchase rights for stories and photography without any costs? I’m a believer in the one-man show but essentially, I think this is about the equivalent of our ancestors, the zines. How its different from those others services of Blurb and so on? You can sell it for a profit (something I think Blurb really should be doing at this point anyway and something they can easily add on to their already developed service and site).

    Like I said, interesting concept, but once you get into the realm of actually purchasing rights for stories and photography, you’re in the realm of thinking about generating real profit to cover your costs and to possibly even pay yourself a little.

  12. Hi all I’m not selling anything I would like for you all to provide feedback to my magazine blog.

    I would like to gain feedback for research purposes.

  13. I am going into auto-mobile classified magazine publishing,i would like an advice on how to go about it.

    1 which photo editing software will be suitable and faster to use?