News Maybe We Can Use? Introducing MagCloud, A Print-On-Demand Glossy Magazine Service

meowser-48.jpg posted by meowser

Today’s New York Times has an article on MagCloud, a new service (still in beta) by Hewlett-Packard, which allows users to create full-color glossy magazines and sell them print-on-demand style, charging 20 cents a page when a customer orders a copy. (I assume they mean 20 cents for each side of the page, although the Web site they have up now is so annoyingly sketchy that they don’t specify that. But I’m deducing that if they say a magazine is, say, 52 pages long and they charge $10.65 for it, that means 26 sheets of paper printed on both sides plus cover.)

I found this very exciting to read about, even if it’s just an opportunity smelled by H-P to sell more ink. People in fat acceptance have been saying for years that they crave a four-color fat-related glossy magazine with fatshion pictorials in it. Well, maybe this is an opportunity for someone to put one together! (Or any other fat-related magazine where full-color artwork would be a major feature.) It doesn’t have to be a huge investment any more to try it and see how it works, maybe even do a one-off, or an annual, or a quarterly…whatever anyone wants.

No advertising means that fewer pages are needed for content, too. (Their terms of use say the site is for “personal use” only and that work on behalf of “third parties” is “strictly prohibited.” Once again, somewhat sketchy writing, but “no paid advertising allowed” is strongly implied.) Obviously that makes it a more expensive item for individual purchase than one that is supported by advertisements, but then, as a publisher you don’t have the headaches involved with dealing with advertisers and the reader doesn’t have to wade through them, so maybe that’s a good thing.

If you’ve tried this, or think you might, let me know! I’d love to see what you put together. If I didn’t have minus-zero photography skills, I might try it myself.

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10 Responses to “News Maybe We Can Use? Introducing MagCloud, A Print-On-Demand Glossy Magazine Service”

  1. vesta44 Says:

    Is this something you do online and then print on your own printer? Because if it is, I think it would be fantastic to take “best of” posts (and maybe comments, if those who commented approved) from FA/SA blogs and print them up and leave them in doctors’ office waiting rooms, hospital waiting rooms, etc. Talk about a way to get the word out to people who don’t use the internet much…………

  2. meowser Says:

    Vesta, I think it’s a service similar to Lulu or iUniverse, only with glossy magazines rather than black-and-white books. You don’t have to print anything yourself. They do that — that is, they contract with printing companies to do the printing, which is done when someone orders a copy. (You can, of course, order multiple copies and sell them yourself, if you prefer.)

    The idea, though, is that if it takes off, there will be a need for commercial printers to buy these huge industrial-strength color printers to handle all the print jobs, and that’s where the increased ink sales come in.

  3. meowser Says:

    And yeah, that’s a great idea, leaving FA magazines around! Wouldn’t that be cool?

  4. Kate Says:

    That would be amazing!

  5. wellroundedtype2 Says:

    I think it would be an awesome idea to have people from the fatosphere submit their favorite posts and photos and then have it printed.

    I have actually made my own magazine for a friend and it was a ton of work, lots of people were involved, and it was a real labor of love. But I would definitely submit something to such a magazine and not expect any pay (using a creative commons license). I would also potentially front the money for some magazines to be sold on consignment.

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I was a typesetter a long time ago when I was in college and have done desktop publishing when it was harder than it is today.

  6. maryheil Says:

    I think this would be an amazing project for the size/fat acceptance community. Among us, we have enough quality writing for at least a year of magazines, I’ll warrant.

    Oh, sorry – I’ve been reading British lit and whenever I do that I start talking about people’s ‘countenances’ and saying things like ‘amiable’ and ‘I’ll warrant.’ 😛

    Anyway, I’d be more than happy to contribute. Why don’t we set up a forum on the Shapely Prose site and start going over our old blog entries and post them there. It would let us
    read them as a group and do a friendly ‘pre-edit’ for each other, just like in school where you get feedback from friends before turning things in, and their editing is friendlier and easier to take than the instructor’s.

  7. meowser Says:

    Well, let’s not forget art work, either. That’s the main differentiating factor between this and a print zine. Zines are a lot cheaper to make, but this allows for full-color artwork, which is why I thought it was worth investigating.

    But it still sounds like a great idea!

  8. Bumerry Says:

    I would never forget about artwork, as wife to one artist (Ed does mostly pen and ink, and has the most beautiful ink sketches of fat women, but they tend to be, um, not clothed, and guest star my breasts!) and mom to a blooming one. Katie’s 8 and does breath-taking pictures, far beyond what I can do even now. At three she drew a cat climbing a ladder to rescue a frightened fire fighter! Not that we’ll use her art, I’m just sayin’.

  9. Harriet Says:

    Well, I’m a genuine magazine professional :), and I think it sounds very interesting. I’m willing to pitch in.

  10. meowser Says:

    Wow, so this could actually happen! Very exciting!


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