Celebrating Dads and Grads

With Father’s Day this Sunday and the school year coming to a close, today we’re going to highlight some ways to use MagCloud to do some last minute shopping for Dad, and also how recent graduates can use MagCloud as they commemorate the past and look toward their future.

MagCloud Gifts for Dad

18 Month Photo Calendar

DadCalendarThe mid-year timing of Father’s Day is a perfect opportunity to create a custom photo calendar that your dad can enjoy through the end of 2014. We’ve modified our 2013 calendar templates to go from July 2013 to December 2014 in our Standard (8.25″ x 10.75″) and Small Square (8″ x 8″) formats for InDesign CS4 and newer, and Apple Pages. Just download the template for the size of calendar you want to create in your software of choice, add your photos and use the included instructions to export a PDF for uploading to the MagCloud website. With MagCloud you can order just a single print copy for your dad, or order additional copies for other family members.

InDesign CS4 and newer: Standard template  |  Small Square template

Apple Pages: Standard template  |  Small Square template

If creating your own calendar file in InDesign or Pages isn’t for you, check out our partner PoyomiPoyomi lets you create a calendar just by uploading your photos from your computer, SmugMug, Picasa, or Facebook, and then you can have it uploaded automatically to your MagCloud account.

Custom BBQ Recipe Book

If your dad loves to grill, pull together his go-to recipes into a custom recipe book. Click here to check out our recent post on National Barbecue Month for templates and tips.

Print and Digital MagCloud Publications

No matter what your dad is into, from cars or technology, to sports, cooking, or travel, chances are good you can find a MagCloud publication about it. Print copies always make a great gift for reading on the beach this summer, or if he has an iPad, get Dad an iTunes gift card that he can use to purchase digital versions of the publications he likes.

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MagCloud Uses for Grads

Photobooks for Friends

PhotobookBefore you and your friends head off in various directions after graduation, commemorate the fun times you had together in a photobook. MagCloud’s 8.25″ x 5.25″ Digest product is a great size for displaying full color photographs in a nice compact format, and only costs $0.16 per page to print. Check out our blog posts about creating photobooks with Adobe Photoshop or Apple Aperture, or see our Getting Started page for instructions in a variety of other programs. You can also use our partner Poyomi to quickly turn your photos from Facebook or Instagram into a photobook without having to lay them out yourself.

Custom Thank You Notes

ThankYouNow that you’ve received all those generous graduation gifts, show your appreciation with customized thank you notes. MagCloud’s single sheet Flyers in our smaller Digest size are printed on a heavier cover stock that make them ideal for using as flat notecards, and the size fits perfectly into A9 envelopes. All you have to do is use the program of your choice to create a PDF that is either 8.5″ x 5.5″ for portrait notecards or 5.5″ x 8.5″ for landscape notecards, and upload that PDF to MagCloud. Then you can order as few or as many thank you cards as you need, for just $0.32 each (or $0.24 each if you order 20 or more). For instructions to create your PDF, check out the Software-Specific Instruction Packages on our Getting Started page.

Print and Digital Portfolio

Children's Sports Photography PortfolioFor those of you heading into the work world as artists, photographers, designers, architects, or writers, MagCloud is a great option for publishing your portfolio. MagCloud’s print-on-demand features allow you to order commercial-quality printed portfolios at an affordable price, across a range of sizes and binding options, in as few or as many copies as you need. You can even have copies of your portfolio shipped directly to an address list of potential employers using our Ship to Group feature. In addition to having high quality print versions of your portfolio available on demand, you can also make your portfolio available digitally for viewing in the MagCloud Web Viewer, and as a downloadable PDF, using the same PDF you upload for printing.

MagCloud wishes a hearty congratulations to all the graduates out there, and a happy Father’s Day to all the dads!

Improved Discovery and Sharing

MagCloud just got a bit more social with our expanded sharing functionality.  You can now like, tweet, pin, and share your favorite print and digital publications from our website or within the web-based viewer. We’ve also given our storefront a pretty little facelift making it easier to discover, read and buy MagCloud publications.

New Sharing Features

Our enhanced features allow you to share a link from the publication details page or the publication itself with most popular social networks or via email.  You can also like, tweet, +1 or comment on a page or publication.

Share publications directly from our web-based viewer and the latest version of our iPad app.  While reading from with in the web viewer you can share a publication to your favorite social network, send via email, or  grab a link and/or embeddable widget to include on your website or blog.

On the iPad you can choose to share a page or the cover and send via Twitter, Facebook or email directly to friends and colleagues.

Improved Storefront

We’ve also made it easier to browse and discover the tens of thousands of publications available publicly in the MagCloud storefront.

The redesigned storefront makes it easy to find and read free and purchased  digital publications directly from the website.  You can browse both print and digital publications by popularity, recommendation, category or search.

Let us know what you think of the new sharing functionality and improved storefront in the comments section below.

Q+A with Merritt Design’s Jennifer Koskinen

No sooner did Jennifer Koskinen begin using MagCloud to showcase her architectural photography work than she found herself designing MagCloud magazines for her clients, too – quickly parlaying her architectural firm into a photography and graphic design boutique. In fact, MagCloud was a source of inspiration for transforming her architectural skills into graphic design skills.

“I love the creativity of designing photographs and then thinking of how to best present them,” Koskinen says. “MagCloud makes it easy and affordable to experiment with design ideas and try new things.”

  How did your architecture work lead to your new career in photography?

Jennifer Koskinen I fell in love with photography when I got my first camera in the eighth grade. But I’d never considered working as a photographer. I pursued a career in architecture, instead.

After a few years of design work, my firm hired me to shoot scouting photos of one of our projects in pursuit of publication. So I submitted my photographs to a magazine, thinking they’d send their own photographer to reshoot them.

The magazine loved what I sent and wanted to publish them. It was just the validation I needed to start shooting more, and soon I realized that I felt more creative photographing architecture than designing it. I absolutely love photography! It’s hard to believe that I get to do this for a living!

  How did MagCloud inspire you in your graphic design business?

JK I started creating my own magazines with MagCloud to give to existing and potential clients. Everyone loved them, right from the start, and wanted me to design magazines for them, too. I’ve created eight MagCloud magazines so far for other architects, builders, chefs, jewelry designers and so forth, with two more in the works. My clients in turn use the magazines to market their work, which makes for fabulous co-marketing for all of us!

  How did you get started publishing through MagCloud?

JK I’d been interested in self-publishing in general, but could find solutions only for books. When I came across MagCloud, I was immediately excited. The first thing I designed was a magazine for my architectural photography. The magazine format was intriguing, so I even wrote stories and included advertisements for some of my clients.

  How has MagCloud made a difference?

JK Next to my website, distributing my MagCloud magazines to potential clients is the most important thing I can do to attract business. I love the reaction that I get from people when I hand them out. People visibly respond to something they can hold in their hands and flip through at their own pace. I see them feel the paper and the weight of it. The pages hold the color so well. It’s one thing to see my images on a computer monitor – it’s nice to see them in print, too.

There’s nothing else out there that beats the quality and the price point better than these magazines. They’re invaluable, and they give my business credibility. There’s no doubt that my sales have dramatically increased because of MagCloud.

  What tips would you give to someone new to self-publishing?

JK Dive in. When I set out to design something, I look at things I love, study graphical trends, fonts, proportions – even white space and how it’s used. It’s really fun to play with, and MagCloud’s templates make everything so easy. I recommend studying what you like and then creating something that’s your own, including things you’ve noticed and like in other people’s designs. Have fun and try things you’ve never done.

  If your publication were a superhero, who would it be?

JK Pixelgirl! She’s a stylish superhero who can fly – cameras in tow – from location to location, harnessing her amazing powers of composition and her ability to capture the most dynamic subjects in the most beautiful light. And she gets home in time to cook dinner for her son!

Q+A with LIVESTRONG Magazine’s (SPOT ON Media) Margot Sandenbergh

When Tour de France superstar Lance Armstrong’s foundation needed someone to create and publish his LIVESTRONG Quarterly magazine, it turned to magazine publishing expert Margot Sandenbergh. When Sandenbergh needed a way to offer the magazine as an on-demand product, she turned to MagCloud.

“With custom publishing, you control everything – how it looks, what’s in it, who gets it and how often to publish it,” says Sandenbergh, CEO and cofounder of New York City-based SPOT ON media. “Custom media is one of today’s fastest-growing marketing tools, and one of the best ways to strengthen the bond between a company and its customers – or in this case, a cancer advocacy organization and its supporters.”

  Tell us more about SPOT ON media.

Margot Sandenbergh We develop custom marketing tools for business and nonprofits. We create original content, which might take the form of magazines, video and online or mobile applications. As part of our media service we help our clients define and refine their strategies for customer relationship marketing.

Today’s audience is very media savvy. People are now immune to the same old marketing messages – they almost have an inner voice that acts as a gatekeeper. Our job is to tell them something they don’t know, and make it useful, interesting and entertaining while we do it.

  Why magazines?

MS Because they work. We know that 92 percent of readers spend an average of 30 minutes reading a magazine – 45 to 50 percent read it cover to cover. More than half have purchased a product or a service as a direct result of reading a customer magazine. And 39 to 42 percent keep their magazines or pass them on to friends and colleagues.

  What got you started with publishing through MagCloud?

MS MagCloud is an idea whose time has come. We were looking for a print-on-demand solution and saw an article about MagCloud. We started testing it in 2008, and we’ve kept up with all the improvements since then. We love the perfect-bound binding and the iPad solution.

One of the great benefits of print-on-demand is that it removes the high upfront printing costs, which is great news for small publishers or nonprofits. Nonprofits often have a loyal membership base that is willing to buy the publication from the MagCloud “newsstand.”

  How has MagCloud made a difference?

MS We’ve been able to reach a larger audience. We have an international audience of more than 90 million yellow wristband supporters. We couldn’t possibly print that many magazines. The iPad version on MagCloud is perfect for many people in our audience, but those who prefer a print version can also buy it from the MagCloud site and have it shipped to them anywhere in the world.

We’re creating a 15th-anniversary issue for October 2012. This special keepsake issue celebrating the milestones of LIVESTRONG, will have an indefinite shelf-life – thanks to MagCloud.

  What are your tips for someone new to self-publishing?

MS Know your audience and think about what makes your content unique. It’s always advisable to survey your readers about their interests. We try to use writers and editors who represent our audience – health writers, cyclists, cancer survivors and advocates. That allows for a rich editorial base and content.

  If your publication were a superhero, who would it be?

MS Every cancer survivor is our hero.

Print and Digital: A Winning Combination

Print vs. digital has long been hotly debated. Recently, we’ve seen several experts weighing in on the topic, arguing that print and digital can coexist and will in fact strengthen a brand when used together. Of course, we’ve always known this at HP MagCloud (check out our Jan. 5 blog post), and we are thrilled when other people realize it doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition. The challenge is finding the right medium to use to tell your unique story, so that it’s heard and understood by your audience.

So what are people saying? Novelist Dave Eggers in the Guardian said, “It’s our admittedly unorthodox opinion that the two can co-exist, and in fact should co-exist. … But they need to do different things. To survive, the newspaper, and the physical book, needs to set itself apart from the web. Physical forms of the written word need to offer a clear and different experience. And if they do, we believe, they will survive.”

When should you choose digital? “For news, facts and information, let’s tell stories as they unfold: a tweet here, an update there, a database, a video clip, a timeline, a slideshow, a conversation, a list. Let’s master the tools of digital storytelling and learn to match our tools and techniques to the circumstances,” stated digital guru Steve Buttry on Poynter.org.

What about print? “Let’s respect the pure, traditional story – the narrative string of paragraphs – by reserving that form for real stories,” Buttry added.

We’re fortunate to live in a world where we have both options.

In telling your story, you’ll want to rise above the chatter. It’s a good idea to participate in the online conversation by using Facebook, Twitter, email newsletters and more to share what’s happening in the moment. You’re demonstrating your knowledge about your industry and connecting in a more immediate way with your audience.

Meanwhile, a print publication showcases your photographs and carefully crafted story to an audience who wants to linger over and slowly digest your content. No matter how great digital content is, readers can stash magazines in their purses, dog-ear the pages and tear out their favorite articles. Quoting The Economist (June 9 issue): “As long as there are coffee tables, people will want things to put on them.” The high quality of print makes you proud to display your work to clients, and likewise, your clients will be happy to share your magazine with people they bump into.

HP MagCloud provides both print and digital offerings because different stories beg to be told in different ways. Plus, you might reach new readers who prefer to read content on their iPad or smartphone. We realize there is much to consider, and one of the main deterrents of print is the expense and complexity. With HP MagCloud, it costs only 20 cents per page for Standard and Square products, there are no upfront costs and everything can be done via our website with a few clicks of the mouse. So a small business on a tight budget can afford to self-publish their content.

For a small business, blending print and digital elements into your marketing is a win-win. Does your business plan include both digital and print? If not, here’s your chance to consider both.

What Does The Future Newsstand Look Like?

We’re all curious to know what the future holds for the magazine industry. The digital space has become a second home for print publications, but how will the newsstand evolve? Let’s look at a few of the key trends affecting the newsstand, as we’ve known it.

1.  One trend that the publishing industry simply can’t ignore is the emergence of digital platforms. The tablet platform is a game-changer; and plays a strong role in helping publishers expand readership, provides more opportunities to repurpose content libraries and creates new business models. Publishers that embrace new ways to integrate print and digital across platforms will put themselves at the forefront of the publishing industry transformation.

2.  The new frontier for magazine publishers is interactive media. Whether print or online, it’s essential to add a social layer to the content experience in an effort to stay relevant in an over-populated space. It may be a QR code, a Facebook promotion or a section featuring the up-and-coming blogs in your field, but print media should not be shy about showing off the latest tech innovations. For instance, companies like Microsoft came bursting onto the scene with programs such as Tag, which launched in January 2009, and spent their first year making a splash in the print magazine industry with partners like Condé Nast Traveler and Lucky.

3.  The social revolution also brings recognition and credibility to bloggers in a way that just wasn’t done five years ago. Style Sample, a fashion magazine promoting independent style for all, knows the importance of bloggers in reaching the budding-fashionista masses. The idea behind this trend is to leverage the readership of these blogs, which can even reach in the millions! Magazines are another medium that bloggers can use to develop an even closer and authentic bond with their readers. By embracing this new reality, any person who has a voice to be shared and a community to reach can become their own publishers. From bloggers to associations and non-profits to marketers, your magazine can help broaden your audience and provide new forms of engagement.

We’re just scraping the surface of what’s possible in publishing as more technologies emerge and content continues to evolve.

Where do you see the newsstand heading? And, more importantly, how do you intend to keep ahead of trends? Leave your comments below.