Monday, March 30, 2009

Do-It-Yourself Magazines, Cheaply Slick

Philip Chavez binding a MagCloud magazine at Progressive Solutions, which prints about 50,000 pages a month for the service.

The Wall Street Journal - PALO ALTO, Calif. — For anyone who has dreamed of creating his own glossy color magazine dedicated to a hobby like photography or travel, the high cost and hassle of printing has loomed as a big barrier. Traditional printing companies charge thousands of dollars upfront to fire up a press and produce a few hundred copies of a bound magazine.

With a new Web service called MagCloud, Hewlett-Packard hopes to make it easier and cheaper to crank out a magazine than running photocopies at the local copy shop.

Charging 20 cents a page, paid only when a customer orders a copy, H.P. dreams of turning MagCloud into vanity publishing’s equivalent of YouTube. The company, a leading maker of computers and printers, envisions people using their PCs to develop quick magazines commemorating their daughter’s volleyball season or chronicling the intricacies of the Arizona cactus business.

“There are so many of the nichey, maybe weird-at-first communities, that can use this,” said Andrew Bolwell, head of the MagCloud effort at Hewlett-Packard. Samir Husni, a journalism professor at the University of Mississippi who plans to use the technology in his classroom, said, “We’re not talking about replacing the Vanity Fairs of the world. But it’s a nifty idea for a vanity press that reminds me of the underground zines we had in the ’60s and ’70s.http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123836938251967565.html

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