A Partnership of Publishing Proportions

MCAnncmntHeader

By now, most of you have heard the exciting news we shared this week: As of May 5, 2014, we have transitioned the MagCloud business to our good friends at Blurb.

When we started MagCloud back in HP Labs we sought to democratize publishing, so anyone could create and distribute their own magazine. In the five years since, we have been honored to print hundreds of thousands of publications from wonderful publishing enthusiasts, photographers, artists and business owners all over the world. Now looking ahead, we feel it’s time for MagCloud users to get even more out of publishing and we believe that Blurb’s growing self-publishing ecosystem was the perfect next step.

What’s next?

For the time being, you’ll still be able to maintain creative control of your projects within MagCloud. All you have to do to use MagCloud as you would normally is accept Blurb’s terms and privacy policy when you login to your account. Your publications will look exactly the same, they will be printed as they always have, and the cost to create or buy new and existing products will not change.

Over the coming months, as we get settled into our new digs, the Blurb team will be providing more details on the transition. That means you’ll also want to opt-in to receive Blurb’s newsletter updates to receive the latest information on the transition, as well as stay up-to-date on all things Blurb.

In fact, it is Blurb’s features, like their broad line of book and magazine products and growing global distribution channels, that made them the obvious choice as we were looking to evolve what we started. In addition to robust authoring tools and a commitment to product quality, some of the many new benefits that you’ll find at Blurb include:

  • Precision design tools – like the recently released Blurb BookWright™ – to help you design your magazines with Blurb
  • Offset printing options for greater cost savings, as well as print-on-demand services
  • Unprecedented global reach across 80+ countries within Blurb’s platform
  • The Blurb Bookstore and third-party marketplaces

We hope that as our partnership evolves, you’ll find yourself as comfortable on Blurb’s pages as you are on ours. In the meantime, click here to learn more.

Q&A with Cory Ann Ellis of SD Wedding Style

Q-and-A-Series-header-ACELLIS

When Cory Ann Ellis moved from California to the Midwest to study Physical Education in college, she never imagined that she’d one day have a booming photography business in South Dakota and her name on the masthead of two magazines.

Her first headlong dive into publishing, SD Wedding Style, is focused on wedding information and ideas for couples with both an annual print publication and a regular blog-site.

  What lead you from photography to publishing?

Cory Ann Ellis It was really a natural progression. While I love magazines, I am a horrible writer but I found my images are a wonderful visual compliment writing and so it just made sense to create a publication where there wasn’t one previously. The on-demand printing made it possible for us to bring SD Wedding Style to life without looking for financial backers to help with the cost of printing.

There are many magazines to choose from for wedding inspiration–the greats like Martha Stewart and Real Simple–but my partner Leah (a graphic designer and wedding coordinator) and I had never seen a single South Dakota wedding or vendor featured. Therefore it was time to create one and showcase all of the great options couples have right here.

My partner on Wholesome Magazine came to me to pick my brain on launching her idea of a South Dakota-based food magazine. Shayla is a wonderful journalist, talented graphic design and amazing cook. It made sense to join her in the endeavor and now our first issue is due out in Sept 2013 and it will be a bimonthly publication. I’m excited for it’s release, although my waistline is a little less excited–you know I have to try all the foods I photograph…

  What sorts of publications do you publish?

CA With MagCloud I print for AC Ellis, SD Wedding Style, Wholesome Magazine and The Cake Lady. I use MagCloud to print magazine publications as well as collateral material and lookbooks for multiple businesses. SDWS uses MagCloud for both our print and digital distribution and media materials. Wholesome uses MagCloud for our collateral materials. With AC Ellis I use MagCloud for everything I can. My product catalog, proof magazines, client handbook, rate guide, vendor magazines, lookbooks and more. For home projects I like to use it for image catalogs of all the images I want to reference without going to the computer.

The many publications of ACEllis

  How did you get started publishing through MagCloud?

CA A friend originally told me about MagCloud and I immediately was excited about the idea of short run magazines.

  How has your business evolved with on-demand publishing?

CA In my photography business MagCloud has allowed me a new means to put my images in print. In the age of digital too often images do not leave the computer. Heirloom quality albums and many lab produced products are incredibly expensive and aren’t ideal for quick distribution and lots of handling/updating. My images are in more hands thanks to MagCloud and that means more exposure, bookings, and income. The number of my referrals turned to bookings has increased since I’ve used MagCloud to print materials specific to the venues and coordinators I wanted to work with. This year about 42% of my weddings are based on these referrals versus about 10% the previous year.

  What software do you use to design your publications? Do you have any special tricks to make it easier or well designed?

CA I use Adobe InDesign® for all of my design work. When I found layers it opened up a whole new world.

  What tips do you have for someone new to self-publishing?

AC ELLIS Photography Product Catalog

CA For someone new to self-publishing I have three main tips.

1. Research.

In order to produce a great product you need to research all aspects of the business. While this may be a creative outlet or a small project there are certain legal steps to take for your business. For example if you are going to sell advertising or the publication itself, things like obtaining sales tax licensing and filing, business registration, EIN number, etc.

2. Protect.

Your work is worth something and you should protect it. Either submit the entire publication or all of your images and text to the copyright office. While your work is copyrighted the moment you create it, registration allows for the recovery of damages in the event it is illegally copied. You can also trademark your name and logo. Not only federally, but in your state. Business names can also typically be registered in your state. Get your ISSN number so that your publication is searchable and citable. Lastly, put a copyright disclosure in your masthead or somewhere in your publication.

3. Partner.

You may be good at one skill like writing, but not design, editing, photography, or business operations. Find other professionals to round out your team. Either as partners in an LLC/Corp or as paid professionals and sub-contractors. A great team will make for a great publication.

  What are your business resolutions for 2013?Farmer's Market Calendar

CA I’m not a resolution gal, but I am a huge goal and list maker. And since I’m also into SMART goals I typically have a list of about 70-100 items designed to help me achieve about 10 main goals. This year’s largest undertaking is a complete business re-branding. Lots of fun and work.

  Are there any blogs or publications that you use for business advice or guidance? Which ones?

CA Surprisingly I do not read many business blogs, but I do follow some great people on twitter and love to read their posts and links. A few are Whitney Johnson @johnsonwhitney, Lucas Marcus @lucymarcus, and Oliver Blanchard @thebrandbuilder. I do always recommend small business owners read the book E Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber.

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 Paul Lips of Toobydoo Childrenswear

You don’t often find an expert in economics spending the day sketching designs for children’s rompers, tiny T-shirts and extra-small sweaters, but for Paul Lips, it’s a dream come true. This Holland-to-New York transplant had worked in the business side of fashion long before taking the leap to the design side – something he’d wanted to do since childhood.

Since launching his New York City-based Toobydoo children’s wear line in 2008, sales have more than doubled each year. Key to that, Lips says, is MagCloud’s ability to quickly print his high-quality catalogs and ship them to garment showrooms around the world. ”For buyers who’ve never seen our clothing up close and in person, MagCloud helps us present our products well,” he says.

  Tell us more about Toobydoo.

Paul Lips We’re a lifestyle design label for children, ages 0 to 8. Our philosophy is “go happy, go lucky” with “to be, do!” attitude. I think you see that in our garments. Children’s clothing should be fun – but it’s also about function. It has to be washable, easy to put on and easy to wear. There are all kinds of criteria to take into account, and I like having to keep that balance in mind.

  As a small business, how has custom publishing fit into your marketing plans?

PL We present our fashion collections through a line sheet that lists our products and specs – for example, age, price and style numbers. And then we produce a lookbook that features models wearing our garments in various lifestyle poses.

In fashion, it’s important to get from an initial idea to a product very quickly. We can do a photo shoot and, two days later, we can upload our line sheets and lookbook to MagCloud and have them instantly available in showrooms. Every day counts. If you don’t have your catalogs in the showroom when buyers are ready to buy, you’ll lose the order. They’ll buy someone else’s line.

  What got you started with publishing through MagCloud?

PL We were pretty early adopters. Our photographer mentioned it to us as an interesting way to produce our catalogs and ship them internationally. From that point on, we have always used it.

Our customers require that we have line sheets and lookbooks. They like the way our pieces are bound – it’s exactly what they want. They look at them, they circle items they like, they write notes on them. They can take the books with them. It makes it easy for them to order our products, and that’s what we want.

The quality is a perfect fit for us. And with MagCloud, we don’t have to order large quantities. If something changes in our line sheet – for example, we discontinue a certain garment – we can easily update the sheet and send it out again.

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

PL MagCloud is easy. The costs are so low that you can afford to experiment with different approaches. And you don’t have to buy a lot of software. You probably already have what you need on your computer. We use PowerPoint to lay out our pieces. You’ll be amazed with what you can do with the tools you already have.

  What author, artist, photographer or musician would you most like to have over for dinner?

PL Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. I like how he strikes a balance between playful and practical. That’s what I strive for in all of our designs.

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.

Go Big With Our Large Form Factor Products

MagCloud users deserve larger form factor products and we are happy to offer not just one but seven large product types.

Tabloid Product Family

At 11″ x 14″ trim size Small Tabloid is smaller than a standard newspaper but larger than our Standard letter-size product.  Our Large Tabloid product has a 17″ x 11″ trim size offering more room for images and content. All Tabloid products are published on premium cover stock, have Wire-O Binding, and are ideal for large format portfolios, custom calendars, manuals and more.

  • Small Tabloid: 11″ x 14″ and 14″ x 11″ trim size options
  • Large Tabloid: 17″ x 11″ trim size
  • $0.36 per page with full color printing
  • 8 to 90 pages in length in multiples of 2
  • $2.00 per copy for durable Wire-O Binding

Poster Product Family

Our full-color, double-sided Poster are printed on premium cover stock and come standard with UV coating giving them an extra sheen and making them more durable. Posters are ideal for promotions and special event keepsakes such as gallery exhibits, music festivals and fundraisers.

  • Available in 12″ x 18″ or 18″ x 12″ trim sizes
  • Full-color professional printing on 80# premium cover stock paper
  • Standard UV Coating front and back for increased durability
  • Each individual Poster is only $2 to print ($1.50 for orders of 20 or more).

Large Square

MagCloud is adding to its Square product family by offering a new large form factor Square product. At 12″ x 12″ trim size, this new product is great for one-of-a-kind portfolios, photo books or training material.

  • Available in 12″ x 12″ trim size
  • Durable Wire-O Binding
  • 80# premium cover stock
  • 8 to 90 pages in multiples of 2
  • $0.36 per page with full color printing
  • $2.00 per copy for Wire-O binding

Standard Landscape

Finally we are also expanding our Standard product line, with the addition of a landscape option. Measuring 11” x 8.5” and also using Wire-O Binding and premium #80 cover stock paper, this new product option is useful for portfolios, magazines, booklets, catalogs and more.

  • Available in 10.75″ x 8.25″ trim size
  • Durable Wire-O Binding standard
  • 80# premium cover stock
  • 8 to 90 pages in multiples of 2
  • $0.20 per page with full color printing
  • $2.00 per copy for Wire-O Binding

Note: Standard Landscape page and trim size will also be available as a Flyer option.

What do you think of these new products and how do you plan to use them?  Let us know in the comments section below.

Powerful Publishing Tools for Professors

Over the last week we talked about using MagCloud in education, as a powerful tool for teachers, and a great asset for students who want to present their work professionally. Today we are moving forward with the same theme to discuss how professors can use MagCloud in higher education.

Whether you teach at a major university, a local community college or a continued education course, print materials for classes are always a concern as far as budget, turnaround-time and quality. MagCloud can help you with all of those challenges, providing beautiful printing, easy-to-use digital distribution options and no-minimum print runs to help you publish content for your students in a timely, affordable and more sustainable fashion. Let’s take a look at a few solutions for professors:

Syllabi

The syllabus is traditionally handed to students as a printed document on the first day of class. For distance education courses, the syllabus can be posted online or even better, mailed to students. By publishing your syllabus through MagCloud, you make it easy for your students and yourself. You can order a bulk of them to hand out in class, direct your students to download a digital version to their PC, tablet device or you can use our ship-to-group feature to drop ship a copy to each of your students on a mailing list.

Easy Re-prints:

There’s always at least one student who loses their syllabus, so when they come to you for help, MagCloud gives you an easy place to direct them–your own unique page–where they can choose whether they want to get a digital version or order a new printed copy that will be delivered right to them, requiring very little effort on your part.

Handouts/Flyers

Throughout the semester/quarter there are regularly occasions to distribute supplemental handouts and flyers. Handouts are a great way to provide support material like graphs, tables, or diagrams, or even slide notes to compliment PowerPoint presentations.

You can use handouts for specific project assignments, recruiting students to join the club you advise, or supplements to the lesson plan. No matter what the purpose, MagCloud is a great asset for printing any number of flyers or handouts. There’s no need to run to the print shop, as you can easily place an order online and have them delivered straight to your office in as little as 3 days.

Other Handout Ideas:

  • lesson outlines
  • supply and reading lists
  • activity guides
  • supplementary materials like graphs and statistics
  • lab assignments
  • study guides
  • slide notes for presentations

Course Readers

Course readers provide professors with the ability to customize specific texts for their classes. The material may include chapters from books, articles from magazines/newspapers, website print-outs, cases, or their own work. As a professor, you know that pulling this content together in a way that is compelling for the students is challenging. Standard black and white photo-copies can be tough to read, and photographs, illustrations and art suffer from poor print quality. MagCloud let’s you deviate from these long-antiquated types of course readers by making it possible for you to offer them as both full-color prints and in various digital formats.

Benefits of using MagCloud for your Course Readers:

  • free storage of the digital master in PDF format
  • no cost to you or your department– it’s free to publish, you/your students only pay when ordering print or marked-up digital files
  • publishing is immediate, so your course pack is available to students as soon as you click “publish”
  • it’s easy to make your content available to your students in print and digital formats
  • easily place orders for direct delivery to the department or use our ship-to-group feature to distribute to a mailing list
  • full-color, full-bleed printing makes it possible to showcase art, photography and imagery beautifully–no more grainy black and white images
  • easily direct students from all of your classes to collections for their course–you can sort publications by subject or class, and make it easy for your students to access all of your printed course materials in one place

Lab Manuals

If you have authored your own lab manual, you simply need to upload your document as a PDF file for publishing. You can choose whether to order the manual to distribute in class, or if you want to make it available for students to purchase themselves. MagCloud will produce high quality books up to 384 pages from your PDF that can be made available for print, digital download.

Student & Alumni Newsletters & Magazines

We know that being a professor means that you do a lot more than teach classes, so whether it’s for your Mock Trial Team or Journalism Faculty, publishing a newsletter through MagCloud will definitely help your community’s message stand out from the crowd.

Along with community newsletters, a number of educators are using MagCloud to publish the student magazines that they advise. MagCloud’s on-demand printing options mean that you don’t have to sacrifice print quality for a smaller budget or even a small readership. Whether your students are putting together a publication for their program of a couple hundred, or even for their class of 30, you can be confident that all publications are printed in full color with a full bleed on HP Indigo digital presses. These commercial presses have been calibrated to provide a high quality output of all your content, from crisp text to brilliant graphics. Our professional service features make it possible for your students to turn out a publication you can all be proud of.

Example Publications:

A Note About Using Copyrighted Work:

Federal copyright laws protect all original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium. When using material that has been written, recorded, or designed by someone else, it is important to make sure that you are not violating copyright law by improperly using intellectual property belonging to someone else. While some items are public domain, most course readers are not considered “fair use” of published works and copyright owners retain all rights to grant or deny permission to use. In other words, do your homework before you print someone else’s content.

Are you an educator using MagCloud? Share in the comments section how you’ve used MagCloud for your needs.