When The Magazine launched a little over a year ago, it was a grand experiment in electronic publishing. Could a brand new digital magazine be built on a simple, clean framework, and with no advertising? Would readers pay for original content in a native app format?
It turns out that the answer is yes. We obviously love The Magazine, and more importantly, you do, too.
So why would a popular, successful electronic periodical create a hardcover print book? Why now? Those are valid questions that even our contributors initially raised. Why are we doing this? There are a couple of answers, and you, our beloved reader, are at the center of each and every reason.
We love a streamlined reading experience. We run an ambitious publication for such a small outfit. A side effect of our flow of work is that some readers are left scrambling to finish every issue before the next one arrives two weeks later. We recently started producing new, shorter stories between issues for Medium, too, adding to the total. A print collection, sitting on a coffee table until you have time to truly enjoy and savor the storytelling, solves that dilemma.
(It’s also worth noting lots of digital-focused publications have been experimenting with print as of late. The Guardian is using robots — robots! — to select and layout a small run of craft newspapers with a focus on longform reporting. Even Newsweek is rumored to be back from the dead, soon to live in print again.)
A print collection also lets you share your favorite stories with friends and family who don’t read online, or who want to enjoy the experience of reading medium-length reporting in a print collection. While we get all sorts of formatting requests, this is one of the few it’s made sense to pursue, and we’re glad to be able to do it.
Our crowdfunding campaign also helps us pay our contributors — talented writers, illustrators, and photographers — a bit of extra money on top of the fees they were paid for originally reporting and writing for us. We pay as much as we can, a good rate by digital standards. But we’re always aiming to offer more.
We love the stories we’ve published in our first year, from October 2012 to October 2013. Even more importantly, you, our readers, do too: you’ve told us over and over again. So we’ve worked hard to find a solution that allows every current and potential reader to enjoy our reporting and essays.
Print can be costly, but it isn’t prohibitively expensive. The planning process consumes a fair bit of resources, though, and that’s why we want our readers, subscribers, friends, and the cool folks we haven’t met yet to help us reach our goal. We’re already halfway there.
This project is designed to break even plus a good margin of wiggle room at its goal amount, paying all those involved while leaving us with an ebook and additional print books to sell in the coming months to supplement our subscriptions.
You can read the Kickstarter page for more details. We hope you will, and we hope you’ll stick with us as we march into our second year of publishing fascinating, delightful, and surprising stories you can’t find anywhere else.
San Francisco-based journalist Brittany Shoot, the managing editor of The Magazine, writes about fascinating people and far-flung places. She is a contributing writer to Mental Floss, Spirituality & Health, and Sojourners, and also writes for magazines including Time, San Francisco, and Islands.