Perusing the shelves of Barnes & Nobles, I chanced upon Everywhere Magazine, where its tagline called on me: “The New Magazine Made by You”. It’s the first user-generated travel mag I’ve encountered this year, and boy is it beautiful. Our networked culture just made my fascination for magazines grow a notch more.
Sure, most publications have always had a relationship with its readers, be it forum letters to contributed articles. However, magazines like these push the boundaries between paper and pixels, where editors work with users to put together an entire magazine.
Such work goes beyond the novelty of collectivism. In fact, I see it as a purposeful evolution from an earlier crowdsourced publication, JPG magazine, which features stunning photography based on selected themes and user votes.
According to New York Times, “[o]nline readers vote on their favorite submissions appearing at JPGmag.com. Then a tiny staff of 10 designs a layout for the winners and about 50,000 high-quality slick-looking magazines are printed six times a year. They are sold through $25 annual subscriptions and on newsstands for $6 each. The online version is free. Readers can also download and print a PDF file of the entire magazine free, because the publishers assume that physically holding a high-quality magazine is more satisfying than viewing it online and therefore will not cannibalize newsstand sales.”
OK, I checked and JPGmag.com does indeed have a free online version in flash (can’t zoom in) and in downloadable full quality PDF (wish I had a large ebook reader). On the other hand, EverywhereMag.com just has a sneak peek of their issue 1 in PDF format.
Samir Husni, chairman of the journalism department at the University of Mississippi and well-known magazine business blogger of Mrmagazine.com, said that “I don’t think it’s just about getting cheap content into a magazine. Seeing their own work in print makes people feel like part of a community.”
Photo by isriya
Indeed, amongst Mr Magazine’s 7 great magazine moments, Everywhere (travel) and JPG (photography) stood quite distinctly. I’m hoping next up to be a user-generated foodie magazine, where users get to highlight recipes and great places to eat (after all, food porn is popular on flickr). Speaking of which, would a user-generated porn magazine work?