Print Ain’t Dead
Before I get into this week’s post, I just want to do a bit of shameless self promotion and tell you that I was featured on my friend Delaney’s blog this week. If you get a minute, you should check it out here. On with the post…
Who would bring out a magazine that costs far more than its competitors when publications are folding left, right and centre?
After all, we are told that printed media is dying a long and slow death. Blogs and online newspapers, social media and Youtube have all given printed media a solid kicking. But The Great Discontent is taking no note of that. What’s more, it seems to be thriving.
Last Friday I arrived home to find that Naomi had ordered me a copy of The Great Discontent magazine. I had heard about it on The Good Life Project and really wanted to check out why this magazine was so different.
For a start The Great Discontent is a tri-annual publication. Ok, it costs a bit more than your normal magazine (at $25 a pop). But it’s pretty easy to justify it three times a year as opposed to the traditional monthly ($12 a pop).
It’s weighty, like a coffee table book. It looks stunning. The matte pages feel great and, with the risk of coming across as a snob, it’s definitely a cut above any other magazine I’ve read.
Previous publications have always had a scatter gun approach; everything and anything would get reviewed, critiqued and featured by scores of journalists and to be honest, I would only read around 50% of its content. The rest I simply wasn’t interested in.
They’ve also been recycling tired features for far too long. Last week I went into a newsagent and looked at the music magazines on the shelf. On the front covers were bands from a long gone era. Rush, Neil Young and The Beatles. I’m not dissing these artists but after, say 40 years I think we can move on.
The Great Discontent however, with its long form interviews from a selection of artists from different fields, whittles down its buying customers to a few.
Geeks like me, in other words.
Instead of carrying huge attention grabbing headlines, each edition and all the interviews follow a theme. The most recent was “Possibilty”. Sounded sexy to me. This magazine focuses on a narrow field and goes way, way deeper than its peers. And it’s following a distinct trend.
Instead of trying to grapple with a huge audience, The Great Discontent has handpicked its customers and said, “Here – this is for you guys.” And it’s not the only one. Loads of different outlets are doing the same thing. The aforementioned Good Life Project and WTF? are both different examples of podcasts with deep reaching interviews. I’ve heard that Comic Book publications are on the rise. The National newspaper in Scotland also bucked the trend. Every one of these publications have handpicked their audience and sold directly to their customers. People are digging it.
That makes me happy because it also shows that the public are still wanting quality output. The difference is it’s just coming from a different place now.
But what really appeals to me is that people are returning from tapping on glass faced devices to buying physical things again. People are scratching the analogue itch and for a wannabe author like me, that’s a good sign.
Oh… And one last thing. There is not one single advertisement in it.