Has the future of print changed forever? Cool Tool to Try

Has the future of print changed forever? Cool Tool to Try

General | Judette Coward-Puglisi

April 27, 2009

I never repost the writing of others on this blog but having found and fiddled with MagCloud, I ‘ve discovered that it  is way too cool to keep to myself.  Have a read of the publishing world’s anwser to You Tube after and let me know what you think.

"Hewlett-Packard is riding a "cloud" to a new service that could be magazine publishing’s answer to YouTube, reports Ashelee Vance in the New York Times (3/30/09). The service is called MagCloud and it allows niche publishers to "crank out" special-interest magazines one copy at a time, for just 20 cents a page. Publishers can then charge as much as they want to readers, who can order copies online. "There are so many of the nichey, maybe weird-at-first communities, that can use this," says Andrew Bolwell, who heads MagCloud for HP.

Publishers can either upload their own finished PDF, or else use templates provided by HP to design and format their magazines. HP then "farms out the printing jobs to partners scattered around the globe and takes care of billing and shipping for people who order the magazine." However, the service itself is not necessarily HP’s intended profit center — that would be sales to print shops of digital printers made by its Indigo unit. The machines "range in price from $300,000 to $600,000 each" but are capable of printing "one copy of 10 magazines or 10 copies of one magazine for about the same price," at the push of a button.

So far, MagCloud has "produced close to 300 magazines, including publications on paintings by Mormon artists, the history of aerospace, food photography and improving your personal brand in the digital age."

MagCloud could also be a boon to local print shops, which can also use the Indigo printers to let customers customize "invitations, stationery and announcements." Phil Zuckerman of Applewood Books meanwhile sees a more economical way to "print single copies of old titles." HP is keeping all options open: "We are trying to experiment with these new types of business models," says Andrew Bolwell, noting that the foray into on-demand printing is low-risk for HP. "

..written by Tim Manners