HP MagCloud: Create High-Quality Business Materials on a Small Business Budget

This post was written by Melissa_Zieger and originally appeared on the blog for 367 Addison Avenue, HP’s online community for small and medium businesses, on September 22, 2011. You can view the original post here.

Did you know that HP has a content publishing web service that can be used to create everything from your own magazine to business materials like catalogs and portfolios? It’s called HP MagCloud – invented by HP Labs, is a self-service publishing platform that allows businesses to easily create into professional-quality publications that can be printed on demand, shipped globally, or distributed digitally.

Better yet, there’s no upfront cost and MagCloud can turn your content from a PDF to delivered printed publication in just three days!

Using MagCloud’s digital storefront, customers can order the latest issue of their favorite publication and have it printed on demand and delivered directly to their doorstep, or download for reading on their digital device of choice. Plus, all content is printed to order using HP Indigo technology, delivering professional print quality with no waste or overruns, reducing the impact on the environment.

Businesses are using MagCloud to create everything from fashion catalogs and knitting guides to photography and architectural portfolios. I recently sat down with two small business customers using HP MagCloud to find out more about how the service is benefiting their business.

Alex Tinsley started her knitting pattern design business, Dull Roar, nearly six years ago. Prior to discovering MagCloud, Tinsley was only able to provide her customers with a PDF of her patterns via her blog. Today, she uses MagCloud to transform PDF versions of her design work into high-quality professional catalogs that she can distribute in both digital and print formats without a huge impact on her business’ bottom line.

“The quality of the printing is really just beautiful, and it’s pretty much the only place you can get that kind of quality in small quantities,” said Tinsley. “I love that it runs without much input from me – I just upload the issues and collect the income. MagCloud handles all the sales, printing and shipping.”

The ability to offer customers both print and digital formats helps Tinsley meet her customer’s needs without making an upfront investment in the creation and printing. Tinsley says that most of her customers prefer the digital copy for instant gratification, but that she uses the hard copies as giveaways and gifts. She’s also used the publication as a handout at tradeshows, which enables her to drive views to her website and increase downloads of her digital catalog.

Trey Hill, a Dallas-based photographer and storyteller, started using MagCloud in 2010 to create storytelling portfolios of his work. He needed a way to not only show the pictures he had shot but also to showcase his journey.

Hill uses Adobe InDesign to create photo portfolios and uses MagCloud to print his digital creations on-demand as a way to attract new business and share with clients as a thank you for their business. Hill says the ability to have both print and digital versions is important. “The print quality increases the value of my business, but we live in a digital world so it’s still important to provide a digital format, as well,” he said. “As a small business owner, not having to buy 1,000 copies to get a great price point is worthwhile. And my customers are blown away by the quality.”

Since using MagCloud, Hill has started to see a change in what his customers have come to expect – they now see him as a storyteller, not just a photographer.

About Alex Tinsley

An avid knitter since 2004 and knit design enthusiast since 2006, Alex Tinsey’s designs can now be seen in publications like Knitty, Knit Simple, the Knit Picks Independent Designer Program, and (soon) Knit Scene. You can access Tinsley’s MagCloud products here.

About Trey Hill

Trey Hill was one of the founding creatives behind I Am Second and his portfolio includes work for Addison Road, Relevant Magazine and the Dallas Stars. He works all over the world and has had the privilege of photographing some of the planet’s most revered and most overlooked people. You can access Hill’s MagCloud products here.

Possible Shipping Delays Due to Hurricane Irene

HP MagCloud customers may experience some delays in receiving their shipments because of the severe weather resulting from Hurricane Irene.

USPS and FedEX are experiencing service delays due to widespread power outages, local road conditions and some office closures.

Please check their websites to see if your area may be impacted:

USPS Mail Service Updates

FedEX Service Delays

If you have any questions regarding your order please contact us.

Good Things Come In Small Packages: New Digest Size

Many publishers have asked for more product sizes. Well we are happy to announce a new product type called Digest. At 5.5” x 8.5” it’s approximately half the size of our current Standard product, and is available in both perfect bound and saddle stitch versions.

And with a smaller size comes a smaller price point. While there are lots of things that go into creating a high-quality finished publication, another benefit of Digest is that it allows us to reduce our overall production costs, specifically those related to paper and ink.  Those savings help bring our per page cost down to $.16 per page vs. $.20 per page for our larger format. Smaller publications also mean lighter packages, which can reduce shipping rates.

The Digest product offers an overall more compact and affordable publishing solution.

Publishing for Digest is similar to how you publish today you just need to modify your PDF settings for a smaller trim size (5.25 x 8.25).


For step-by-step instructions on how to create your PDF, check out our Getting Started page.

Let us know how you plan to use the new Digest product in the comments section below.

Streamlined Publish Process

It just got easier to publish on MagCloud. We’ve  revamped the publishing process for all MagCloud products making it easier to upload, update and manage your publications. With the new Publish Process  you can name your publication, select your product type and begin uploading it to MagCloud all in one simple step.

As part of this new publish process, we’ve also introduced the MagCloud Smart PDF Uploader, so if your page size is slightly off, the new uploader will automatically resize pages, check and warn for low resolution images, and add blank pages if the publication doesn’t have the exact page count needed for the chosen binding option.

We’ve also addressed some of our publishers’ most common requests. We have removed the back page tagline to give you even more design freedom. The lower right-hand 1.4″ by 0.625″ of the back cover will be covered by a white label with an order number in print versions of the publication. In the near future will further reduce the amount of space reserved for MagCloud use to a very small .5” by .5” square space in the lower right corner of a publication’s back page.

In addition, we have removed the ‘Issue Number’ nomenclature.  We realize not all our publishers are creating traditional magazines and you have told us that requiring issue numbers can be confusing. Now publishers have full control over naming their publication.  And if you still want an issue number, no problem, just include it as part of your publication title.

For all of you out there publishing single publications, or special editions, we no longer require that you publish as part of a ‘Magazine’ group.  Instead, you can now publish a standalone publication, or group your publications as collections.

Today’s release also includes enhanced search functionality making it easy for readers to find their favorite publishers and publications.

And last, but certainly not least, we are excited to announce a new addition to our MagCloud mobile family, MagCloud Newsstand for WebOS. That’s right, we’ll be bringing MagCloud to WebOS tablets this fall. With the MagCloud Newsstand for WebOS, readers will be able to browse, preview, purchase, download and read all of your MagCloud published content on their WebOS TouchPad devices.

Let us know what you think of the new Publish Process and today’s announcements in the comments section below.

MagCloud Blog Gets A Makeover

As you have probably noticed our blog also received a few updates today.

Our new design and layout is intended to make MagCloud news, tips and features easier to find and enjoy.

All posts are accessible via categories — Design Resources, Events, News, Publisher Spotlight, Tips and Tricks, and Trends.  Or you can search on a word or phrase to find related articles.

The blog has also become more social making it easier to share posts with friends and colleagues across your social network, as well as keep in touch with MagCloud.

Let us know what you think of our new blog design and if you have any suggestions in the comments section below.

MagCloud – On a Mission to Influence Small Businesses

We’ve always seen ourselves as an integral part for any small business’ marketing efforts, but it’s humbling and exciting to be recognized by others. Recently, we were nominated as one of the 2011 Small Business Influencers. This prestigious recognition honors companies, organizations and people who have made a significant impact on the small business industry. Paired with our recent Webby nomination, it has definitely been an exciting year thus far to see our name mentioned along with so many other notable industry organizations and professionals.

We’re in the next phase of the Small Business Influencer Awards and would love your help to reach the Top 100 by August 9th. If you feel that we’ve helped make a meaningful and lasting impact on small businesses, simply place a vote! Yes, you can even place a vote every day. :)

For more information on the 2011 Small Business Influencer, be sure to follow the folks behind this initiative – Anita Campbell (@smallbiztrends) and Ramon Ray (@ramonray). Please leave a comment below if you voted so we can thank you!

Vacationing with MagCloud

Memorial Day is a welcome beacon that summer is around the corner. As you finalize your plans for summer, MagCloud wants to provide you with a way to capture all of those special memories and experiences – whether it’s a staycation near home, a road trip to the national park or a getaway to an exotic locale.

How are you chronicling this precious time? Some of us may remember those family gatherings in front of the carousel slide projector or the bulky albums our parents put together after every trip. Now with MagCloud, you can create a personal memento in magazine format to easily share your memories with family and friends in print and digitally.

Here are a few tips and tools to assist you through the process:

  • If you’re creating a simple photo magazine, below are a few tips and resources to “prep” your images before publishing.
    • To produce a quality publication, make sure all images have a resolution of at least 300 pixels per inch.
    • If you’re looking for photo editing tools but don’t have access to Photoshop, check out GIMP (free software that features most of the capabilities that Photoshop offers) or any of these additional photo editing tools.
    • Short on time or not comfortable with design tools? Give Poyomi and turn the photo sets into a magazine without using a design program.
    • Need inspiration? Browse through some of our travel and vacation magazines.

Have you ever used MagCloud to create a magazine of memories? It’s even a great way to commemorate a school year, a birth, a wedding and more. With MagCloud’s digital publishing and print-on-demand capabilities, it’s never been easier or more budget-friendly to capture the special moments in life.