Two years ago, we noted (with some surprise) that at least some top execs at HP seemed to actually be focused on trying to move the company into the future
rather than clinging to the past, as is so common with many companies. Of course, it's one thing to say that, and another to actually get there. One of the elements discussed was recognizing that the traditional reasons why people print stuff might be going away, and the company needed to look elsewhere for revenue -- including coming up with new
reasons why people might print stuff on paper. So one of the projects that HP has been working on
(and is trying to promote more now) is its MagCloud offering that makes it cheap and easy for just about anyone to become a paper magazine publisher
. Basically, you set up whatever you want via PDF, upload it to MagCloud, and it costs $0.20/page, and you have a nice glossy magazine. They'll even handle shipping copies off to your "subscribers" (and you can charge whatever you want for it).
While it might be worth wondering who wants to start a print magazine as so many things are going online, I could certainly see some uses for this on the margin -- including adding ways for primarily internet-only publications to add a cheap
paper option as well. The fact that it takes out some of the bigger costs (especially upfront costs) and logistics, it will be most interesting to see if people start coming up with entirely new and creative uses for such micro-press magazines. I'm not convinced (at all) that this will actually succeed -- but I do find it interesting to see a big company like HP try to adapt to a rapidly changing market that undercuts the need for some of its core products.