Tuesday, April 10

is not magazine

the new issue of "is not magazine" has been released recently. i am not sure that the picture i have uploaded actually conveys the true size of what has been billed as the largest format magazine in the world. my hand in the photo tries to give you a size point of reference. it is not just that i am an awful photographer. and by the way, i have big hands.

"is not magazine" brings to the fore a question covered earlier in this blog re what exactly is a magazine. the publication in question is obviously in poster format. yet, new issues come out at regular intervals and each has a similar format each time around. given that it so obviously looks like a poster and not a magazine, does the very name chosen by the founders of "is not magazine" indicate via a peverse reversal of logic that they in fact consider it to be a magazine?

one of the cool stories about "is not magazine" is that they once put in some random text into one of their articles. this text encouraged people to call in on the provided number and the first few callers would win a prize. i can't recall the exact details, but the prize was worth calling in for. no one did. one of the founders told this story at a lecture i attended as part of the "state of design" festival. just goes to show that content is not always king.

i found this quite funny, as quite a few people have been buying "is not magazine" from mag nation. people are buying it, yet no one is reading it? i guess i would buy it too if i didn't live in a shoe box. it makes great wallpaper. and it would make me feel cool too. like i am one of those few people in the know.

but given that I am a magazineologist by profession, perhaps i am being a traitor by liking "is not magazine". after all, it is not a magazine, is it?

Wednesday, April 4

Weird and wonderful

Been absent for a while - busy opening a new mag nation store at Sylvia Park in New Zealand. The guys next door to us got flooded the night before opening, and we had to put up with water seeping through their wall into our store. We were running around like madmen armed with paper towels - like trying to stem the bleeding of a severed arm with a bandaid.

Anyway, while in NZ, someone asked me what was the strangest magazine that we had in our range. My thoughts went towards Mental Floss, Primitive Archer, Pigeon Racing, and a number of other weird and wonderful titles.

But then, I saw this mag... Bamboo Rediscovered. How Fabulous!

Nothing like a good read about Bamboo, especially for those of us out there who used to love Bamboo, but have forgotten all about it.

Bamboo aficionados - this is for you.

Tuesday, March 13

T-World 2

If you haven't already seen the new issue of T-World, then you obviously haven't been in to mag nation recently.

I love this mag. I have said it before and will say it again - T World will soon be selling more copies globally than all the various incarnations of Vogue or Vanity Fair. It will even sell more than the new magazine we have in just for magicians called Magic Scene.

T-World 2 epitomises everything I love most about magazines. I love the nicheness of it (don't think that is a word but you know what I mean). I love that it is building a cult following in only its second issue. I love that it is beautifully designed. When you hold it in your hands, it just feels good. Someone is going to ask it to marry them soon. Maybe we could host the wedding. Or even give away the bride.


Bottom line, this mag kicks t-butt.

Friday, March 2

Talk to the hand

Is it just me or are the publishers out there starting to think more outside the box than ever before.

While I am not a digital creative and therefore can't get as much out of Computer Arts Projects as some, I am nevertheless a huge fan.

They come up with very cool covers. A previous issue came in a perforated cardboard envelope looking like it was just about to be shipped. Then there was the issue that looked like a vinyl LP. Now this... the hand cover.

When you touch the hand, it changes colour. The interesting thing about it is that it morphs into a real hand - the hew of the skin colour and the lines on the palm are all perfect.

This is the sort of mag that I like. Even when on the shelf, it says pick me up and interact with me.

Then there was the issue of Creative Review that was packed in a paper bag with the words "Your mother is a whore" scrawled on the front of the bag. I thought it was hilarious. Some newsagents covered up the message with white out...

I am a sucker for a good front cover. Put something new and never seen before on a Stamp Collecting mag and I'll probably buy it. I hope more of the creative mags out their continue to innovate. This is an art form and I hope it permeates its way through the industry.

Sunday, February 25


Monocle has finally launched. There has been a heap of fanfare about this new mag. Created by the original people behind Wallpaper*, it promised a lot.

I now have it in my hands, and I have to say, I am very surprised. Don't take this as a negative. Rather, surprise in this case means what it says - Monocle was not what I was expecting.

Wallpaper* is image heavy. Monocle is not. The amount of text in the mag makes it almost like a journal. It is quite highbrow - not a light read by any means. That said, how nice it is to have something other than the New Yorker to challenge us.

The size is unusual, and the paper stock definitely does not make it feel like a standard glossy. It uses a matt finish, is low on sensational imagery, and has little advertising.

My one big question is that being a monthly, how the hell are they going to be able to generate that amount of content each and every month. They have set themselves a very high bar, and I am looking forward to seeing if they can meet it.

Tuesday, February 13

West East - Great Cover

Some covers just jump out and grab you. Here is one of them.

Imagine this on the mag shelves along side all the other dribble, and you will see why West East - a fashion mag out of Hong Kong, is one of my favourites.

Monday, February 12

Monster Children

I have a number of books that list the coolest mags in the world. They are dominated by fashion and design mags, but for some reason, Monster Children is not listed amongst them.


If Monster Children doesn't rate as one of the 100 coolest magazines in the world, then I am a munkles unky. They do two covers for each issue (one cover of the current issue 13the glows in the dark). Check this for out there - who does 4 colour printing for a purely black and white edition, even for ads? These guys do.

MC has achieved that elusive cult following that so many want but few manage. Newsagents wouldn't have a clue where to put them - they probably think it is a title about kids!
By the way, mag nation has exclusive back copies of monster children, going back all the way to issue 1, and with both copies of each issue. Colour me cool.

I am now going to rip off something from the magazine and take my chances with the copyright gods. I hope people appreciate the irony. This is the fine print from the mag:
"this is the 13th issue of MC. Don't copy anything in this mag. That's shit house. Comments made within this mag are not ours. We just need words to fill the space. So back off. And whats that park in North Sydney, under the bridge. I like that park..."

Anyone who includes random crap in small print is brilliant by me

Friday, February 2

world exclusive

can we trust anything that is ever printed on the front cover of a weekly gossip mag? take a look at this week's woman's day and new idea.

both feature shane warne and simone on the front cover. the amusing part is that new idea has "world exclusive" printed on it (top right corner). these mags come out at the same time and sit next to each other in most retail outlets. do people really believe that new idea are the only people in the entire world who have photos of shane and simone. i wish i could ask the question who cares, but obviously many people do.

can' wait for the next simultaneous world exclusive across 79 different magazines in 15 different countries.

do you think i am cynical? now that is a world exclusive.


wow... long time no blog. sorry

to the thousands of people :) who read me religiously, get a life. no, i mean, i will be a good magazine from now on, i promise. kind of like the frustration of collecting monthly editions only to miss out on the december issue.

i'm back. 2007 is the year of the magazine. sooo exciting.

Tuesday, December 12

What a great Yarn

I love a good yarn...

Nothing like sitting by a fire with a warm knitted blanket spinning a few tales. I can light fires, and I can definitely spin... (some would use other terminology), but unfortunately, I can't knit. Never tried. Wouldn't know where to start.

Enter Yarn Magazine.

These guys make knitting accessible. Just as well, as knitting is suddenly cool. Check out the hollywood starts into knitting and you will see why it is gaining media attention. And besides, it is probably a good way to meet girls!

That is not the reason why we are holding a "Knit In" at mag nation this Thursday the 14th of December - the real reason is because we can! In conjunction with the wonderful Yarn magazine, we are inviting knitters of all standards (including yours truly who didnt until recently even know what a knitting needle looks like) to stage a "knit in" over wine and sushi.

Thanks to Yarn, there are door prizes including a weekend getaway for two at Tarndwarncoort and a Namaste needle binder. I don't know what this last thing is but boy does it sound cool.

Come and join us at mag nation (88 elizabeth st) between 6 and 9pm this Thursday. Have a knit and spin a good Yarn.

Thursday, December 7

Wad is wad? Urban redefined...

It is increasingly hard to categorise certain mags. The mag industry got together a while ago to standardise mag categories - the problem with the result was that it was useless. Oooohhh, I am definitely going to get in trouble from someone with a big stick...

Take WAD for example. What is Wad? The cover, apart from being unbelievably gross yet strangely provocative, uses the following tag line "We'ar Different / A Magazine About Urban Fashion & Culture".

There is a new genre of magazine that is getting increasing cut through. I call it "Urban". Urban can cut across numerous genres such as fashion, art, design, literature or even travel (a la Paper Plane). Urban is not about content. It is about attitude. No wonder the industry associations don't get it.

WAD is one of an increasing number of bi-lingual magazines. Written in both French and English, it comes out of one of the centres of Urban in my humble opinion, Paris. Edgy, provocative, and aimed squarely at Gen Y, urban is a category of the future.

This is an unbelievable cover. Looking closely makes me squirmish, but I can't stop looking at it. Urban has this effect on me. At 32, perhaps I am too old to get it, but I can't seem to get enough.

Tuesday, December 5

Serious stuff

And now for a serious entry. Or at least serious in my world (not as if I am about to declare I have found the cure to cancer, learned how to turn lead into gold, or even discovered how to bite into aluminum foil without my teeth hurting).

There is a lot more to magazines than gloss, fashion, cool and funk. How about straight down the line, old fashioned “information”. The kind that makes you say “I really needed to know that and I am a better person because of it”.

A lot of what I blog about can’t be categorised in this way – unless I have had a few too many single malts. But as a Magazineologist, I don’t just read the “cool” stuff, but try to read a wide range of mags from different genres.

I was reading Australian Parents this morning. It may shock some of you to know that I have two kids of my own. The mag cover story was about whether you should have your kids sleeping in the same bed as you.

I have to admit that I love my kids in the same bed as me. They grow so quickly, and at 3 and 1, they are still really cuddly.

Up till now, I had never wanted to admit my co-sleeping. Made me feel like not only a freak but also an irresponsible parent given that many in western medicine advise against it. Reading Australian Parents today made me feel normal. Alleviated my guilt. Reaffirmed what my instincts had been declaring as natural.

I feel like a better person today. A small weight has been lifted. All because of a magazine. These babies of mine (the mags, not my kids) are cool, fashionable, glossy and at times, downright entertaining. But they are also serious tools for the flow of serious information. Seriously.

Friday, December 1

Sneaker Freaker Week

Sneaker Freaker Issue 09 is here. We have been waiting forever and we finally get it 4 days before any other retailer in the world. mag nation rocks.

You read Sneaker Freaker and think that the guys who put these publications together (guy in this case) must be way too cool for school. Mostly they are normal people with a dedication and passion for something. Definitely the case with Woody - just an all round good guy.

The SF team came into mag nation last night and decorated the store in celebration of the new edition. It has 3 different covers, though I am only showing one here.

Sneaker Freaker doesn't need much in terms of a plug from me. They are way beyond needing a MagMan. Woody is da man. If you like sneakers, you want Sneaker Freaker. It is the first and only mag documenting this global footwear culture (took that from their website!)

Take a look at what they did to my store...

Wednesday, November 29

Giant Robot

Has anyone read Giant Robot? If you haven't, then you should. Does amazingly well in the US, but very few people know about it in Aus or NZ.

It describes itself as Asian Pop Culture and Beyond. It comes out of the US. Personally, I wouldn't describe it as Asian Pop Culture. Makes it seem as if it is less relevant to non Asians, and this is crap. I would prefer to call it Global Pop Culture with an Asian perspective.

Giant Robot have retail stores in LA, San Fran and NYC. They are a very funky brand and the mag seems to be an extension of it (or perhaps it is the other way around). In any case, I would go as far as to say that it is one of the best mags I have come across. I have known about it for a while, but you don't get it in most places. mag nation to the rescue. Again.

One of my favourite parts of the mag is the regular "book collector". These guys really do find the cool stuff to read.

Check it out. Pop culture from an Asian perspective is going to be huge. Asia is the future and their influence on the streets here in Aus and NZ is only starting to be felt.

Giant Robot is already huge in the US. It deserves to be huge here too.

Tuesday, November 21


Ok, so if you hadn’t heard, OK! (Australia) has gone weekly. It was fortnightly, and it was previously $5.95, but it has been repositioned as a weekly and the lowest priced of its competitors at only $2.95.

Now I have no vested interest in saying this, as the money I make on selling one OK! at mag nation ain’t going to be putting my kids through college any time soon.

I really like OK!

You might have guessed by now that I am not much into weeklies. My personal tastes are more towards a mag that challenges my withering intellect. But, I recognise that there are magazines for everyone (my entire business is based on this premise), and the weekly celebrity gossip mag has its place in the market. (It also happens to be the best selling category of magazine and what keeps your local newsagent ticking along).

We don’t really depend on the weeklies at mag nation like other retailers of magazines. But I have to tell it as I see it. OK is different. It is “cleaner”. I am not the expert in how magazines are put together, but the people who do the setting out for OK should be congratulated. It just feels easier to handle and navigate.

Well done OK! You are definitely OK by me. And so far anyway judging by our sales numbers, your readers seem to agree.