MagCloud is an HP company that makes it very easy to publish your own magazines, brochures, and pamphlets. In this article I'll discuss my own experiences using MagCloud.
For many years I have published Digital ImageMaker international (DIMi) as a website with news, product reviews, and articles of interest to photographers, artists, designers, and others. For a short while I also published it as a PDF magazine. But at the time, it did not work out. Recently I was considering how to keep moving DIMi forward and the obvious thought was: “How do I get it into print?'
I did not have the money to invest in a large offset printing run, with all the attendant hassles of the taking and fulfilling of orders, or distributing it through magazine shops. So, I started looking for an alternative solution that made better sense at all levels and made use of the latest technology. I knew about MagCloud from covering it for other magazines.
MagCloud is a HP company that uses the excellent HP Indigo digital presses to print, on demand, soft cover magazines. They currently offer two sizes. The first is an 8.5 x 11-inch submitted-PDF size which is trimmed to a final 8.25 x 10.75 inch publication. The “digest” size starts with a 5.5-inch wide by 8.5 inch high PDF that is trimmed to a final 5.25 x 8.25 inch publication.
You need to provide MagCloud with a print-ready PDF. You can produce this PDF from Adobe InDesign, Quark XPress, Microsoft Word or Publisher, Apple Pages, or any other software that can output a suitable PDF.
MagCloud provides guides for the software mentioned above on their site, making the process particularly easy. They even provide downloadable templates for each type of software, so the process is really simple.
The Indigo presses require a CMYK file. RGB images in the PDF are fine and will be converted by the press. Just ensure that they contain embedded color profiles so this conversion process will work well.
Before I started on my own project, I bought a couple of other photography publications from MagCloud so I could examine the image quality and the paper. Happy with this, I moved forward.
I used InDesign because I am familiar with it from my book-publishing activities. But the fact that you can go straight from Word makes this a very easy and painless process for many people.
You upload the PDF, choose between the two types of binding and that is basically it. MagCloud supports saddle stitching, which is stapling, and perfect binding, which is like a paperback book. There are page count limits for both. I chose perfect binding for an extra $1 per copy, because it looks more professional for a 60-page magazine.
MagCloud calculates the cost for you. You order a sample. Mine took less than 10 days to reach me in Australia, which is most impressive at this time of year. When you are happy with the sample copy, you can choose to release it for sale, setting a markup on the production cost.
And what is the result like? Well, stunning is about right. I am very impressed with the result. Color is great, image detail is excellent and the print is crisp and lovely. The paper feels good to handle and the cover stock works well.
I can't yet comment on how well the sales go. To cover all the bases, I have also released the magazine as an e-book, selling through all the main e-book retailers.
Over the course of the next few issues I will be curious to see how the sales track. With MagCloud I also selected the PDF option, where they produce a lower resolution version for screen viewing and reading in the MagCloud iPad app.
Publishing is a whole new world, thanks to technology such as the HP Indigo presses and companies like MagCloud.
In some ways, publishing today has a Wild West feel about it, with many new frontiers and business models to explore. Without MagCloud, I certainly would not have been able to bring DIMi to print at both the low volumes and high quality I need.
Many people still regard print as the best way to view the stunning images created by the artists and photographers that I profile in DIMi. With MagCloud my readers have choice. And choice of how we want to consume things is great.
Give MagCloud a go yourself. You can find digital imageMaker international on MagCloud at: http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/305514
Let me know what you think!