The word “magazine” is thought to have evolved from an Arabic word for storehouses. The word MagCloud evolved from someone in the Palo Alto headquarters of Hewlett-Packard looking up at the clouds while reading a magazine. Or not. More likely they were brainstorming new new uses for HP’s digital print presses. Last year HP rolled out MagCloud, a web service for publishing magazines. It put the power of magazine publishing into individual hands. Already a plethora of obscure zines have entered the marketplace thanks to MagCloud’s features that allow you to print one of many or many of one magazine.
In several cases the “magazines” are narrowly focused and are not storehouses for much. Rather than the familiar magazine themes of weight loss, news, money, entertainment, hobbies, sports and the like, these magazines can be hyper-personal. In the age of Facebook, do we need hyper-personal magazines? There’s RONSWORLD, a magazine “celebrating” the photographs shot by Ron Scott for Texas Monthly Magazine – at $20 per copy. So far there’s only one issue. Wally Dog’s Tale is about a dog and a bird and it’s less than $5 per issue. It isn’t known who is buying this – though the bird and dog are quite cute.
It doesn’t really matter because magazine publishers don’t have to pay hefty printing and transportation fees. In the printed glossy world, only 30 percent of the copies are sold. On the other hand, with MagCloud, a group or individual can assemble a magazine with desired content and store it digitally, printing only as needed. The PDF can be accessed by contracted HP printer shops anywhere. While producing a magazine with MagCloud may not require a printing budget, it still requires writing, photography and design skills. Interesting how creativity refuses to be automated.
While MagCloud may or may not be the future of glossies, small organizations and big event planners are discovering its usefulness. BizTechDay is an upcoming event with speakers from around the world giving presentations on business and technology. For the second consecutive year, the organizers have assembled a publication on MagCloud. Now the only question is, will MagCloud stay or will it go?