A publishing idea: online readers ‘save’ longform articles to be printed as a bespoke, on-demand magazine. Magcloud will print 32 pages of 80# matte, saddle-stitched, for £3.20, postage is extra. Maybe there are cheaper print alternatives.
If the article is taken from a published source (say, GQ or the New Yorker), the publisher takes a slice, if not a cut goes to the writer. Articles are laid out by choosing from a menu of free templates (like WordPress). The cover is mashed together like Flipboard.
Complicated, sure, but I see many benefits:
- It enables amateurs to curate their own magazine, blending the best bits of, for example, Vanity Fair, When Saturday Comes and Slate, with feeds from bedroom bloggers or content built from an individual’s Flickr stream
- It is a physical copy. This isn’t an alternative to online, it’s a special extra
- It has that iTunes ability to mix classic with new, mainstream with obscure
- It could represent new revenue for publishers. They could make small cut from new writing (often given away for free online) or commercialise old content. Classic articles rehashed
- Guest editors could produce special editions, by theme, sold in bulk
- It encourages freelance writers, which creates greater diversity
- Authors become more active in marketing their content, via social media. It helps build blockbuster content creators
- The inside front, inside back and outside back covers could be sold to advertisers. The demographic would be attractive to advertisers and you’d be generating bags of data
- It is social. Users can see lists of Most Popular, New, Local, Under 30, etc. They can share their choices, find similar content, make contact with content providers, build networks
- The end product is like a publishing mix-tape: a perfect gift
And it feels personal.