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The Continued Rise of Indie Magazines

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
1 min read

I really love the business model Offscreen magazine has built for itself. They've taken the book publishing model and married it to the magazine model in a tasteful and profitable way.

Their idea (introducing you to the people who build great stuff on the web) could have been a book, a Youtube channel, or a podcast. But they made it a magazine.

They made it valuable by considering, in minute detail, the quality of the content, then actually printing it. It sells for $20, but also takes a few sponsors. The sponsors are featured in a small section, designed by the editor of magazine. They're not ads, nor are they obtrusive. This is a great idea. Check out the video above for how it's done.

Once this model is established, you can sell back issues, ancillary products and sponsorships on publications about your publication (your blog, your email newsletter).

Much of this is done with book publishing as well, but with magazine publishing you can sell a single idea over and over to your fans. In book publishing, it's usually one and done. Come up with a new idea and write another book if you want another $20.

Magazine publishing is still a very risky model that requires lots of hard work (I know more people who left the business purely due to the shipping headaches than people who started new magazines), but the pay off is so tempting, indie magazines like Offscreen are popping up everywhere.

In fact, Offscreen's weekly email newsletter just featured 33 indie magazines and asked readers to click on their favorites (3 readers will get 3 issues of each magazine, 99 issues total). I thought I knew how niche a niche magazine could get, but I was wrong. Some of these ideas are insane and I love it!