Yesterday, the New York Times reported the new magazine publishing venture by Hewlett Packard, Magcloud. The service uses the traditional “free” print on demand model – it costs nothing until you print it up. From Magcloud’s site:
It costs you nothing to publish a magazine on Magcloud. To buy a magazine costs 20¢ per page, plus shipping. For example, a 20-page magazine would be four bucks plus shipping. And you can make money! You set your issue price and all proceeds above the base price go to you.
In contrast, a 20-page saddle stitch publication on Lulu runs as high as $9.50, so this seems a far better avenue for magazine publishing. This is a very good development not just a self-publishing platform, but for further reducing the stigma of self-publishing, as POD is no longer considered a second-rate method of publishing. Magazines are, by and large, a different animal than books and regarded differently, but this is another step towards making self-released books as legitimate as other types of media.
Magazines as Marketing
This also gives self-publishers another marketing avenue. Writers could make a press kit for a book – possibly combining all of a book’s reviews within one cover. For instance, take a look at the media kit for the independent film Two-Minute Heist – be sure click Preview to peek inside. Another idea would be to create a teaser with the first couple of chapters of a book, which could potentially be a collector’s item. Or writers could release short stories in individual volumes.
Who knows – maybe the Self-Publishing Review will bind together some of the better articles into a print magazine. Given the extremely low cost of putting one of these magazines together, there are a lot of good possibilities for Magcloud – which makes it one of the better developments in print on demand technology.