Reaching Young Readers
A new initiative by MPA gives free digital editions of magazines to college students hoping to convert them into magazine readers and to test the viability and popularity of digital delivery. Five publishers are participating in this initiative. Read more

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World's First Mag
The Gentleman's Magazine was the first general-interest magazine. It was founded in London by Edward Cave in January, 1731. The original complete title was The Gentleman's Magazine: or, Trader's monthly intelligencer. More>>

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Merrill Lynch report on the state of the newspaper industry does not see online representing over 50% of total newspaper ad revenues until more than 30 years from now.More>>

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    Why Magpie? Because I like observing these sleek birds with a tapering tail. And like Magpies, I live with the burden of being a 'chatter', even though I believe that I am rather shy, reserved and unobtrusive :).

    Monday, November 27, 2006

    Editorial: Narrative Cover for New Yorker

    Last week, The New Yorker magazine introduced what it calls the “the narrative magazine cover”. The Thanksgiving issue, (dated November 27, 2006), of the magazine was released with four covers on the newsstand with each image depicting a Thanksgiving scene, two set in 1942 and two today. The stories become intertwined in a fifth installment, a comic strip that will appear on the magazine’s Web site.

    What is interesting is that this five-part cover very innovatively melds the two mediums—print and online—elevating the magazine's cover to creative art. All five components are done by cartoonist Chris Ware, whose graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, has been called ‘the first formal masterpiece of [the] medium’.

    Although some magazines often use different covers of a single issue to spur collectors and fans to purchase extra copies of an issue, MediaPost writer Tom Siebert suggests that the strategy has never been used as segments in a single, continuing narrative.

    For the cartoon issue ‘The New Yorker’ set up a special print and distribution run that would guarantee that all geographic regions of the country would receive all four covers. Delivery packaging also worked to place all four covers successively in stacks, so that even two subscribing neighbors in an apartment building stand a good chance of getting different covers!

    Related Links:
    View the four covers and the concluding comic strip
    New Yorker Makes History: 4 Covers Tell One Cartoon Tale
    Editorial: When Readers see Double on the Newsstand


    Tuesday, November 21, 2006

    Advertising: Engage all Five Senses

    IPC Media is one of UK's leading consumer magazine publisher, with an unrivalled portfolio of brands, selling over 350 million copies each year.
    Combining case studies from their magazines and using theory, IPC has produced the Five Senses Roadshow--the ultimate guide to appealing to consumers' senses.
    Here are the highlights of the presentation:

    1) Magazines are undoubtedly the medium of engagement. Often regarded as a close friend they offer entertainment, information and advice, just like a close friend should.
    2) Advertising benefits from this engaging framework but it is possible to improve your advertising conection even further by producing 'connectable' advertising. Advertising which stirs the five senses, ignites emotions and leaves a lasting impact on readers minds.
    3) Active purchase of magazines and mental processing of reading means magazines command fullest attention. eye-tracking technology shows print gains up to 7 times the attention levels of TV.
    4) No other medium provides their audience with more targeted advertising than magazines. relevant content in relevant surroundings means the ads become fully ensconced in the magazine experience.

    To find many more arguments in favour of print advertising and to get new ideas to engage the five senses, you can download the presentation from


    Wednesday, November 15, 2006

    Free Stuff: Interesting magazine downloads

    My friend and an avid visitor of often asks for links from where he can download free digital magazines. Prompted by that and my fascination for digital magazines which goes back to 2003 (when I wrote a whitepaper on then-new digital delivery mechanisms), here is a new section that highlights interesting freebies--Free Digital issues, access to closely guarded archives, bargain magazine discounts, etc.

    Enjoy this month's selection of free stuff!

    BusinessWeek Digital Free Subscription: BusinessWeek magazine is a leading business magazine with in-depth coverage of technology, finance and management.
    Format: Zinio Reader required, you may have to register at

    Free Digital issue of ‘Graphic Exchange Summer 2005’ (a Canada-based publication for professionals in graphic communications and graphic arts). This 78- page issue also has a long feature on digital delivery modes for magazines!
    Format: Rich PDF includes embedded links, video and other rich media.

    Free Premiere issue of ‘VIV’: Viv is an independently published health-and-wellness magazine for women. This new online-only magazine is expected to launch with a Jan-Feb ’07 issue.
    Format: Zinio Reader required.

    Podcast: 20 Ideas in 20 Minutes-Engaging Readers Beyond the Page Listen to high-profile editors Diane Salvatore (Ladies’ Home Journal), Judith Nolte(American Baby Group), Alfred Edmond Jr(Black Enterprise),Amy Astley(Teen Vogue), Christopher Napolitano (Playboy) and Gary Hoenig (ESPN, ESPN Books) talk about how they go beyond print to engage their readers.
    Format: Mp3, 30 MB download


    Monday, November 13, 2006

    India: Ripe for Magazine Design and Production Outsourcing?

    Cadmus Communications, which has for years used a 600-person design and production facility in India (Knowledgeworks Global Limited in Mumbai and Chennai) for its medical-journal printing business is now exploring a full-service outsourced design and production solution for traditional b-to-b magazines.

    Folio: magazine conducted a mini-poll on the question: “Can Design and Production Be Outsourced to India? Should It?” and here is what they got.

    The pluses reiterated what is already been said is favour of outsourcing: There’s nothing about being in India or China or Vietnam that prevents someone from doing fantastic work for a US-based publication. The software is the same. The skills are the same. And the Web creates a situation where working with a guy in Bangalore isn’t so very different from working with a guy on another floor in your building.” And so on.

    However, those against outsourcing provided varying perspectives:

    “If someone thinks so little of the design of his publication to outsource the production portion, and can save enough, so be it. I’d keep pushing for automating the production portion but leave the design skills with the art director—in the office next to mine.”

    “You’d lose the creative interplay needed to produce a truly compelling magazine if you don’t have face-to-face interaction.

    “We deal with last-minute ads on a routine basis.We have a lot of movement up until we ship the magazine to the printer. Customer support is an integral part of our process. Although there could be some costs savings, we believe the quality of our publications and our reputation could be compromised."

    “I’d be very wary of this approach. While the potential savings may look attractive, that may be offset by the oversight and review needed to ensure content has been accurately reproduced.”

    Read the entire article on Folio: here.

    For a short time, I worked for Hong-kong based b2b publisher who had editorial/design functions in Philippines, ad sales offices in China and Taiwan, printed in China, and distributed all over Europe and the States! Editing was outsourced to freelancers in India, UK and Singapore! The design was pretty much template-based to ensure that all group publications had a uniform look and all offices worked about a couple of months in advance and adhered to strict deadlines mutually fixed by them. And things seemed to be going along very smoothly…

    Maybe outsouring to India as discussed by Folio: Forum is not too far away...


    Wednesday, November 08, 2006

    Strategy: Turn Readers into Contributors

    JPG Magazine, a photography magazine that features user-generated content, recently relaunched. In its previous incarnation, the magazine allowed photographers to submit photos based on one theme per issue. While anyone could submit, JPG's founders (Derek Powazek and Heather Champ) decided which photos made it into print.

    Now, JPG is even more customer-made. Members can upload photos for a variety of themes--three for the mag's 8th issue: Tourist, Intimate and Embrace the Blur--as well as for themes that aren't yet scheduled for an issue. Member participation helps JPG decide which themes to choose for future issues. While a first selection is performed by contributors themselves as they're only allowed to submit one photo to each theme, the other major change is that members can now vote for other members' submissions. JPG's editors will continue to make the final selection, but member votes play an important role. If their photo is picked, contributors get USD 100 and a year's subscription to the magazine.

    Besides becoming more user-generated, JPG has also taken two steps towards 'serious' publishing. While the first 6 issues were printed on demand using print-on-demand service Lulu, JPG is now switching to traditional offset printing to lower the sale price. The publication will also start featuring full-page ads and offers advertisers the opportunity to sponsor a theme.

    At a time when many magazines are shifting from offline to online, JPG's parent company, 8020 Publishing, is moving in the opposite direction, acknowledging that paper has advantages over the web.

    As Powzaek puts it: "Print is difficult. It's cumbersome and expensive. Highly impractical. But it's also archival, beautiful, and emotive. Print can be intimate in a way the web never can. [...] Now, with an internet brimming with data, magazines are free to skip the data and focus on what they do best: communicate, entertain, and inspire."

    Combining the two worlds -- using the internet to open up to readers and recognize them as valuable contributors, magazines can only get better.

    Read the original article at


    Monday, November 06, 2006

    Article: Five Pounds of Cosmo

    Magazines and newspapers in the U.S. may be going through tough times. But in India, readership and ad revenues are booming says an article on Writer Simon Robinson finds that though there are many ways to measure the vibrancy of India's publishing industry, his favourite method of gauging the vitality of India's publishing industry is to weigh it. ;)
    That's what he did with the October issue of Cosmopolitan. At 1,016 pages the issue weighed hefty 4.95 lbs.
    I too was fascinated by the hefty size of Cosmo 10 anniversary issue. And here is what I found:
    Five Pounds of Cosmo has over three pounds of advertisements (a sign that Indian brands trust the power of print media); many editorial spreads that feel like catalogue spreads, much repackaged content (articles and pictures that have been previously seen in Good Housekeeping and Design Today), a few usable articles and tips and not a single memorable layout!
    But I am glad the October issue is broken into into five volumes, makes you feel that you got five issues for the price of one :)


    Saturday, November 04, 2006

    Newspaper: The Economist content in Indian Express

    If like me you like 'The Economist', you should switch your daily reading to the Indian Express.
    To enrich the content in its newspapers and websites, Indian Express Group has signed an agreement with The Economist to publish content, including special branded pages and supplements, from the latter.
    The page will offer global content, including the widely respected Economist Surveys on an exclusive basis for Indian readers.

    Related story:
    Newspaper: UK's 'The Independent' in New Delhi