The Magazine

The Magazine icon

Once in a while, something comes along that in retrospect seems so obvious as to be almost inevitable. Marco Arment‘s new venture The Magazine is one of those things.

The Magazine is a new publication that resides only in the Newstand app on iOS devices. For many users, Newstand has been one of those annoying apps that can’t be deleted, but has never had any real utility. Content available until now has been bloated and ponderous to navigate, usually little more than imaged pages from the print edition of the publication. The Magazine takes an entirely different approach to displaying content –fast loading and selectable text, clean minimalist layout, free of ads or other distractions. It’s a magazine for people who like to read.

In some ways, “The Magazine” as a name is a bit misleading. Traditional magazines have become distraction-filled collections of ephemera, containing a mixture of editorial content frequently lacking in depth or context, shoe-horned into the spaces between the ads. Print magazines seem calculated to keep the reader turning pages, presumably to maximize ad impressions. Before you know it, you’ve reached the end of the publication, but have absorbed very little.

The Magazine rejects this “more is more” ethos and aims instead for much less, but higher quality content, delivered in small quantities. A typical issue will have four articles of 1000 words or less, written by authors drawn largely from the blogging community, some you’ll have heard of, others you won’t. The subject matter will revolve around technology, but in Marco’s words:

rather than be limited to technology, its topics appeal to people who love technology.

The content will be exclusive to The Magazine for a minimum of one month. Four articles every two weeks, $2 a month.

If The Magazine succeeds, as I think it will, it won’t be long before we see this format adapted for other spheres of interest. As Marco says:

There’s room for another category between individuals and major publishers, and that’s where The Magazine sits. It’s a multi-author, truly modern digital magazine that can appeal to an audience bigger than a niche but smaller than the readership of The New York Times.

Check it out, it feels like the future.


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Comment (1)

  • Publishing cannot be saved by creating digital layouts of physical magazines. Nor can publishers hope to out-compete technology companies by creating proprietary devices or platforms for consuming content. That is picking a fight that cannot be won.

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