Magcloud is an online magazine shop selling digital print titles. It looks interesting, until you realise, like other forms of digital publishing, it is more expensive than traditional publishing.

While Magcloud is digital and the shop is a website, it isn’t online publishing. When you buy a title, the issue is custom-published using something called HP Indigo technology. Then Magcloud mails the item to you.

Will it catch on? I doubt it.

The first title that caught my eye when I browsed through the wares on sale at Magcloud was something called emDash. It’s put together by George Mason University Graphic Design students and is a showcase for the student’s design work.

As you’d expect, it is a good-looking magazine. But, a single issue costs US$7.70 for a 48 page publication. The only advertisements are house ads – so your $7.70 buys concentrated editorial goodness. But even so, that’s expensive – more than NZ$11 for just 48 pages.

EmDash’s price is typical of the publications now on offer.

There’s a tie-in with Hewlett-Packard. But the relationship isn’t made clear at the web site. Or if it is, I couldn’t find it.

So, you pay more for a title that you would in a conventional magazine shop. You wait considerably longer to get your hands on your magazine. And you have to jump through some hoops creating an account to use the service.

On this basis Magcloud is not the magazine shop of the future.

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