We recently stumbled across Magalleria, a gorgeous magazine shop on Broad Street in Bath, and instantly fell in love.
They stock beautiful and carefully curated magazines from around the world, most of them independent. Beautiful design, gorgeous paper – these are indulgent tomes for readers who appreciate the feeling of the luxury in their fingers.
But they are also for readers who want magazines to be true to the writing in every way, and people are proving willing to pay more for a magazine that has a firm stance. So why exactly are indie mags winning?
Pylot magazine is a fashion and photography magazine, with all analogue photography. It is totally devoted to this, all of the pictures, including adverts, are analogue and it subscribes to a strict no retouching policy.
Meanwhile independent women’s magazines are, on the whole, less about consumerism and perfection, more about opinions and interests and self worth. Many women are fed up of reading a body positive article in a magazine filled with stick thin models in the adverts, and indie mags are exploring beauty and fashion as a consequence of being different rather than trying to help everyone become the same.
Mushpit has been described as “J-17 meets Private Eye”. Its unique brand of satire and naughty big sister feel certainly have lots of people wanting a piece. The political message underneath the fun quizzes and questionable life advice is what so many women have been waiting for. There are no advertisements in the magazine; really helping to solidify their message that fashion should be about what feels good rather than big labels.
Independent magazines have a liberty in their ideas. They can change the look and feel of their magazines issue to issue; they can include different sized paper, and decide on the frequency of issues as they go. And the content often changes as well, as writers and editors become older and their views and ability develop. The magazines are often personable and a reader might be buying into the image of the maker just as much as the content itself.
As for reaching their readership, when you are one of the people you are trying to target, you know where they hang out, both online and in the real world. And magazines are using this as a way of persuading potential readers to first of all give them a go, and then to commit by subscribing.
Delayed Gratification comments on news events that happened three months before. It returns to events with the benefit of hindsight, picking out important, unique stories and telling you how they ended. Their journalism is accompanied by beautiful infographics, something their readers love, and they use this knowledge to persuade readers to become one of their subscribers, running regular free infographic classes only for subscribers.
Indie magazines are using their specialisation as a strength. They have a readership that love a topic as much as they do and they won’t compromise on anything in the pages of their beloved volume. So when it comes to advertising, ‘native’ is the way to go.
It is for these reasons that indie mags are doing so well. Everyone predicted that digital would erase print magazines, but people want a physical copy in their hand, especially when it is as beautifully made as the ones in Magalleria. And social media is actually helping these magazines to find a readership.
Some of our recent finds at Magalleria.
Jake – I recently picked up a copy of My Residence from Magalleria. The design, the quality of the paper, these all attracted me, but after reading it I love how there are seven or eight houses featured, normally in magazines like this you maybe only get one or two, and these homes are all so different. You get to know the people who live there, what they do for a living, where they have travelled and you really get to see how these things influence the design of the house.
Ellie– Magalleria has such a great choice of feminist magazines, I love the sharp, satirical, feminist humour found in Mushpit, and Girls Like Us has some really interesting articles and great writing, which always draws me into a magazine. Darling is another great journal; the articles are thought provoking and fresh. Last time I was at Magalleria I picked up a copy of Sister, which I’m currently reading and loving.
Dave– Ben Smith, an old colleague of mine, produces an indie mag called Shelf Heroes. Each issue takes a letter of the alphabet (in order from A to Z) and celebrates iconic and inspiring movies beginning with that letter. It’s a great read and it looks awesome too. I’m not sure what he’ll do after issue Z (maybe numbers?!), but I’d thoroughly recommend any film buffs out there to go and check it out.
All of these magazines and more can be found at Magalleria at 22a Broad Street.