(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
magazines, magcloud, printing


HP Making It Easier For Anyone To Be A Paper Magazine Publisher

from the encouraging-more-printing dept

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.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Apr 2009 @ 2:18am

    * AC squints at date

    Is this an April Fool's?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Paul, 1 Apr 2009 @ 3:55am

    So, a 50-page magazine costs TEN dollars just for the printing costs?

    Hmm, I need to look up the definition of 'cheap'. It seems I've forgotten what it is...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous of Course, 1 Apr 2009 @ 5:50am

    It's cheap in some venues

    It would work for technical books.

    I wish I could buy a reprint of High Voltage Laboratory
    Techniques by Craggs and Meek for $0.20 per page.
    The last time I saw a reprint for sale it was closer to
    $0.60 per page.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, 1 Apr 2009 @ 6:24am


    I've never printed up a paper magazine before but I could imagine that it isn't cheap. For me to do it, I would need the paper, ink, printing press, man hours, and shipping costs. If someone is only going to print up like 50 of them, this sounds like a cheaper approach.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Apr 2009 @ 7:34am

    it's an interesting idea and i can see some use for it:

    you have an online publication and with the HP MagCloud you can give the option to your subscribers to get a hard copy when/if they want.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Sean, 1 Apr 2009 @ 7:47am

    This could be a great solution to close the market on Print newspapers. Currently its $0.20 a page for gloss I'm sure it could be cheaper once production is up and if you can go to lower quality paper stock. Internet newspapers could add to the business model a weekly print version that could be tailored to the subscriber. You pick the areas of interest a script picks the top articles of interest plus a few others for diversity and filler then looks at the address and places a local article or two and sends the batch pdf file out to print and ship.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    sycarion, 1 Apr 2009 @ 7:56am

    One Idea

    One use for the print paper that is still popular here is coupons for the grocery store. Adding a conveience to print out digital coupons hasn't really caught on here.

    I could see a online only newspaper printing a Sunday magazine that includes coupons, longer pieces, even CDs of local bands. It would serve the community as well as make them an arbiter of taste.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Apr 2009 @ 7:58am

    "you have a nice glossy magazine" or technical report, or advertising material. There are TONS of things you can do with this other than publishing your own magazine.

    Now if $0.20/page includes binding and shipping as well (doubtful) then it is a great deal

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    New HP Employee, 1 Apr 2009 @ 8:11am

    They can offer it so cheap because they just cut everyone's pay, most took 5-10% while the top execs took around .3% pay cut.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Jim, 1 Apr 2009 @ 8:21am


    Is this $0.20 per two sided page or $0.40 for a two sided page? Apologies for being too lazy to read the article myself.

    The good thing about this service is that it is risk free for a little guy to try. If no one wants the magazine you aren't stuck reselling $100K in printers (or whatever).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, 1 Apr 2009 @ 8:46am


    "They'll even handle shipping copies off to your 'subscribers'"

    I would guess that they bind the pages as well before they ship them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Michael Alexander, 1 Apr 2009 @ 10:38am

    Printing Cost

    I spent more than 20 years as a magazine editor, and I can tell you that 20 cents per page for four-color printing is indeed cheap, especially when you're talking about number in the low thousands (and many offset color printers would refuse to do a job like that because of the set up costs alone).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    David G, 2 Apr 2009 @ 8:11am

    CHEAP Are you sure?

    Not sure what going on here, but are you sure you all think $0.20 is cheap?
    10,000 copies of a 50 page mag would cost $100,000? postage or no postage thats ridiculous surely?
    Please let me know if im missing something, we currently print 10,000 glossy 50 page mags for circa £4,000. And thats binded.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Gene Cavanaugh, 2 Apr 2009 @ 9:38pm

    HP paper publishing

    $0.20 per page? $20 for a 100 page magazine?
    Sounds like a real dud.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    B.Bonn, 20 Apr 2009 @ 12:19pm

    my two cents (or 20 cents as the case may be)

    Clearly some of you have no idea about the print industry. First off, you would never do a 50 page magazine. It's physically impossible. Saddle stitched magazines MUST be laid out in page counts divisible by 4. So you would be able to do a 48 pager, or a 52 pager.

    That said, 20 cents per page is reasonable only if you are getting small quantities, or single issues made to order (with no minimum order required). I challenge anyone to print a single issue of a 100 page magazine, full colour, glossy at a commercial print shop for under $20. Most print shops charge a $15-$20 setup fee just to open the file. That alone makes this kind of service worth while.

    To those of you who say it's expensive if you're printing a run of 10,000 magazines, you are correct. However if you have the money and subscriber base to warrant printing a run of 10,000 or more, you would likely want to go with a commercial offset printer in your geographical area. You would get the price break on the large quantity, employ local industry and save a tonne on shipping costs. However you would have to commit to that large quantity, thus increasing the risk. Perhaps you could get those 10,000 magazines printed at a cost of $1.20 per magazine, but if you only sell 100 magazines, you're left with 9,900 sitting on a floor somewhere, and then you're still paying $20 per issue.

    This service is great for creating prototypes of a new magazine to aid in selling advertising, or for hobbyist zine writers that may only need to print 20 issues per month. As a graphic designer with experience in publication design, I'm even considering using this service to print specialized portfolio magazines as self promotional pieces. If the quality stands up to other commercially printed magazines I think this is well worth the money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Alexis, 20 May 2013 @ 7:15pm

    It could be helpful for those who were looking for ways to save more money when printing paper magazines. For those who owns hp printers like me (by the way mine is hp 364) this is a good news for us

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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