A new service called MagCloud makes it easy.
All you have to do is upload a PDF file, and they'll take care of the rest. They'll handle printing, mailing, subscription management, and more.
How MagCloud Makes Starting a Magazine Easy
To create a magazine with MagCloud, you just upload your magazine to their website. They'll send you a printed proof and you can make corrections.
Once your magazine is finalized, it resides on their web server. You set the price for your magazine and people can order it directly via MagCloud. Magazine buyers pay the price for the magazine (set by you) and then MagCloud gives you the profit: the price of your magazine less the their processing costs for printing magazines and mailing them out.
MagCloud ships the magazine to your subscriber via regular mail. The magazine is printed on-demand. MagCloud doesn't bother keeping inventory of printed magazines, with hopes that somebody will buy them.
The subscriber gets the magazine in around 10 days, and then, keep your fingers crossed, they may become a regular subscriber and buy every new issue of your magazine.
Why Starting a Magazine With MagCloud Makes Sense
There are so many challenges that you'd face if you started a magazine in the traditional way. Printing the magazine is expensive, for starters.
How many magazines should you print? That's also a tough question. You might print 5,000 copies of your first issue, and end up with 3,000 leftover copies sitting in your garage.
A better way is to print magazines on demand for your customers and incur a printing charge only when somebody orders your magazine. That's what MagCloud does for you.
They charge 20 cents per page when they print a magazine. So, a 30-page magazine is going to cost you $6 to print. That might sound like a lot for one issue. If you can sell it to somebody for $10, you'd make $4 per issue. But who would pay $10 for a magazine?
The revenue model for a MagCloud-delivered magazine may need to be different than the revenue model of a traditional magazine. Instead of selling advertisements to advertisers for a set fee per issue for an entire subscription base, you may be better off charging advertisers a fee for each ad delivered to a customer on an individual basis.
So, in the case of the example magazine above, which cost $6 to produce, you might offer a full-page ad to a big advertiser for $6 per impression. That one ad then covers all of your costs. Everything you make on the ad beyond that is pure profit.
The potential for this is big. Without a doubt, you can be sure that more sophisticated on-demand ad printing will be the norm in the future for companies like MagCloud. In this scenario, Subscriber X might see a completely different set of ads than Subscriber Y, even though they both order the same issue of the same magazine. In other words, the ads could be dynamically tailored to target the demographics of individual buyers.
In this way, some of the ad technologies that have made the Web a great place to advertise could transition over to magazines. This may be what it takes to resuscitate magazine advertising back from the dead.
If on-demand magazine printing catches on, and publishers can profitably monetize their MagCloud magazines, you'll probably see a cottage industry for magazine publishing emerge. Every website blogger and publisher may create a magazine, and there will be some big successes in the mix no doubt.
For those of you who are wondering how to start a magazine, you've now got the answer. Go start a magazine and see what happens.
We'll be crossing our fingers that on-demand magazine takes off because it seems like a great idea, rolled out by a competent startup team backed by HP. What they are doing at MagCloud is the kind of innovation and hard work that ought to be rewarded.