So you're browsing through the shelves of your local bookstore and after the rows of Gaiman, McNaught and the Bronte sisters, you glance upon the magazine section. Rows upon rows of magazines hit the stands and they sell like hotcakes. Why does this phenomenon happen in the magazine publishing industry? What exactly is the selling point of magazines as compared to a genuine curl-up-in-bed book? If these questions got you thinking, then read on.
What is a Magazine and How Different is it from a Book?
The most obvious difference between a magazine and a book is that magazines are changed. They have schedules by which issues are published and distributed to the different bookstores -- weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. This gives the magazine publishing industry the edge of being constantly renewable. They have the chance to constantly adjust to their readers' demands such that they will be able to encompass a larger audience and keep the interest up.
Books don't have this advantage because once the story is out, it's out. The only chance authors have at change is through different editions which don't really alter the story drastically. Magazines, on the other hand, are capable of providing a wide variety of articles suitable to the majority of their readers' interests, and thus, the industry continues to thrive.
Magazines as a Major Production on Paper
There are so many ingredients before you are able to publish a legit and official magazine. First, and obviously, you won't expect to just write a few articles, paste some pictures and voila, a magazine is born. This is not how it happens in the magazine publishing industry. Aside from consumer profit, the industry lives on because of the advertisements that fill the pages with new product lines, promos and simple attention-getters.
Second, you'll need an appropriate publishing schedule, depending on the content of the magazine. For continuously changing content such as news and current events, they could come by weekly or twice in a week. More specific content could be published within a longer time period since it takes more time to gather up special topics and relevant material.
You'll find on most magazines that there's a specified date by which they assume the magazine was published. In truth, magazines are prepared for many weeks in advance and are published before the indicated date. This is to anticipate for any delays from the many writers that contribute to the content.
Third, you'll need to be aware of the availability of the magazine. Are they available on newsstands or bookstores? Will they be sold in specialty stores and vintage bookstores or just the main multinational bookstores? Will there be the option of subscribing to the mailing list? Usually this gives the readers the incentive of not having to line up for a copy and just getting the issues in the mail every time they are distributed.
Sometimes readers even get special offers and early published issues. As for those who have missed out on important issues, there may also be the option of ordering back issues. These are issues published in the past that were returned to the publishers, usually because they were not completely sold before the next issues arrived.
Magazine publishing is a process with undoubtedly complicated shoes to fill. So many elements go into the publishing of a magazine that sometimes we may even wonder how so many of them are offered and distributed all around the world.