Unusual — very unusual — magazines

My friend, associate, fellow NSA member, and now co-editor on Professionally Speaking magazine,  Ian Griffin, forwarded to me an article from the Wall Street Journal about really unique, very high-end magazines.

To read it, follow this link. However, the WSJ is learning from the current newspaper/print-media crisis and apparently has some system that when you send a link, it only remains active for seven days if you’re not already a subscriber of theirs so if you’re not reading this soon after I posted it, you’re outta luck. So, below I’ll do a little recap and you can find some of the links to their sites here.

Am I Charging Enough?

My magazine, Two Words, is printed using HP’s MagCloud service, which — as I’ve mentioned before — is similar to a print-on-demand service for magazines. (Of course, it’s good for any four page color material you might want to print.) It’s really high-quality and I believe it fills a hole for those of us who don’t want to (or can’t) print thousands of copies. However, it’s still relatively expensive, turning out to be about 20¢ per page. Therefore, my first issue cost me $4 a copy.

I understand that my magazines is not going to make me rich (yet) and my goal is to build up 1,000 subscribers but the whole “cost thing” has made it difficult to justify much profit because most people are not willing to pay $5 or $6 (plus postage) for a 20 page magazine. I’ve tried to overcome that by making it aestically pleasing (and have received several wonderful comments about that). Yet, it’s somewhat of an obstacle.

Poverty Consciousness?

A few months ago, I was fortunate enough to meet with marketing expert Ford Seaks at our NSA chapter meeting. He, myself, and a few other people had dinner in the hotel the night before he was doing a presentation for us. There were only six of us and he gave us a few hours. Since it was such an intimate group, we spent a lot of time talking. Since I came from the furthest location (with my friend Jess Petit), he focused on my questions. It was a “hot seat” kind of thing where he dug deep and tried to help me really figure out ways to take my career to another level.

At the risk of this beginning to sound like a therapy session, what came up over the 90 minutes or so was that I still tend to function from a “poverty consciousness” kind of place. What he didn’t know is how far I’ve come from a lower-middle-class background but, in retrospect, he was still spot on.

I think that might be what’s happening with the magazine.

Turning it Around

I always tell people — and I’m so much better about giving other people advice than I am about it for myself — “don’t cut the costs if you can increase the value.” These magazines are doing that, charging as much as $5,000 for one particular issue (sic)! But, it’s what they do to justify it that matters (and granted most of the magazines are nowhere near that price.) Quoting from the WSJ,

But today, at a particularly tough time for magazines, a number of publications are again looking beyond the standard glossy format, experimenting with different manifestations of what a magazine can be. In doing so, they are offering their readers special experiences that Web sites and other free-content digital distractions can’t match.

These are publications that revel in their 3D-ness, special objects that demand deeper interaction from their readers than the average print magazine. Taking advantage of recent advances in printing technology, these publications are determinedly nonconformist in everything they do. But they are, in essence, magazines — curated, regular compilations of content with clear selection criteria, consistent design and an individual voice.

So, with that in mind, here are a couple of the magazines that most impressed me with descriptions from the WSJ article.


It’s a magazine you can wear!

March 2009 issue on capital punishment

Every six weeks, T-Post sends its 2,500 subscribers a new T-shirt: It has a true story printed on the inside, chosen to make readers think, while on the outside an artist interprets the story to create a stylishly unique piece of graphic clothing. The idea behind the magazine is that each design will provoke onlookers to comment — and give the owner of the T-shirt the opportunity to spread the story printed on the inside. The most recent issue, from March, addresses capital punishment and was designed by Hungarian illustrator David Foldvari.

You can find out more about T-post by visiting their site at www.t-post.se.



Visionaire 56 SOLAR issue

This magazine is freakin’ amazing! You must visit their site. Each issue involves unusual materials, strange formats and high-profile collaborators.  (This is the magazine where one particular issue costs $5,000.)

When you go to their website, they show several of their older issues, find the one called “Surprise.” Talk about marketing. Fantastic!

They have more, including one that’s included within a flying disc. However, I don’t want to merely copy the whole article. If you can still get to it, it’s worth checking out.

Bottom Line?

For me, the lesson is to remember that’s it definately NOT all about the price. I mean, sure, I’m not lining up to spend five grand on a magazine, no matter how cool it is. However, it’s a reminder that if one increases the value of the product, or makes it unique, one can still do well.

So, what can I do to make my magazine even more value-oriented. Open to ideas.


~ by scottqmarcus on May 18, 2009.

One Response to “Unusual — very unusual — magazines”

  1. […] How t-Post magazine promotes itself A few months ago, I wrote about some really unusual magazines. Of course, that would mean they might use some really unusual advertising. After the jump, you […]

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