Maggwire.com, a company I’ve written about before, has a plan to charge users for a subscription to a channel that sounds really good to me. There should be a way for magazines to sell content in pieces, so people can assemble their own based on their interests. Also, it’s a good way to recapture the readers they will lose when they finally raise the subscription and newsstand prices. The New York Observer has a brief story (here) on the three former Wall Street investment analysts—Ryan Klenovich, 24, Jian Chai, 26, and Steve DeWald, 24—who started Maggwire.com and who want to “do for magazines what iTunes did for music.”
Here’s the pitch: Offer users a year’s subscription to a “channel” where they can get premium magazine content from a series of relevant magazines, for, say, $1.99 a month, with an additional 99 cents per magazine that they want to add to the package. The publishers would keep 75 percent of the profit, and Maggwire would get the rest.
McSweeney’s, which began in 1998 as a literary journal, edited by Dave Eggers, that published only works rejected by other magazines, has grown to be one of the country’s best-read and widely-circulated literary journals. They’ve just announced that No. 33 (available for preorder here) is to be in the form of a daily broadsheet. Yeah, a newspaper that will be 112 pages all in color along with a 112 page magazine, a 116 page books section, a pocket sized weekend guide and 3 pull out posters. The NYTimes reports:
The pages will measure 22 by 15 inches. (Pages of The New York Times, by comparison, are 22 by 11 1/2 inches.) Called San Francisco Panorama, the editors say it is, in large part, homage to an institution that they feel, contrary to conventional wisdom, still has a lot of life in it. Their experience in publishing literary fiction is something of a model.
“People have been saying the short story is dying for a lot longer than they’ve been saying newspapers are dying,” Jordan Bass, managing editor of the quarterly, said in an interview on Tuesday. “But you can still put out a great short-story magazine that people want to grab. The same is true for newspapers.”
As the crusty old corporate magazines continue to die there are people out there forging a new path.