MagCloud is now an app. Okay, so it’s highly likely that most people have forgotten about MagCloud, unrolled by HP several years ago, MagCloud made it possible for just about anyone to publish a personalized magazine. Even better, MagCloud’s technology did not require a commitment to printing 10,000 copies of a magazine. Rather, anyone with an idea for a magazine could assemble a narrowly focused magazine and have it printed on demand. So basically it’s like Threadless for the magazine world. And if you envision a magazine that could be in the form of a T-shirt – well, it’s an odd concept. Along the way, HP was criticized for its weak publicity efforts with MagCloud and some may have thought the idea disappeared altogether. But behind the scenes HP has been quietly working at updating MagCloud to fit our changing times, devices and habits.
The MagCloud app is still aimed as individuals, clubs or businesses that want to publish a magazine for a targeted group or on a limited subject area. But now the printed version of magazines is optional. Publishers can distribute their content as a digital publication – for free or paid but HP gets a cut from the paid versions. Consumers can view the publication as a magazine spread or not. It can be viewed on a computer screen or via the iPad app – which is technically also a computer screen. People who use MagCloud have raved about how pleased they are with the service. According to HP, “thousands of publishers” are using MagCloud and the majority of them include the digital option. Back in the day, HP envisioned MagCloud as the future of magazine publishing. Unfortunately, that future isn’t quite here yet but maybe now it’s more possible than before.