Tuesday, October 24

Quality vs Quantity

Men are such primal creatures. Or maybe the word is shallow. Or maybe we just think with parts of our body other than our brains. This is is what the majority of men's magazines would have us believe.

Who cares about the quality of the magazine. Just make sure there is quantity and you have the recipe for success. Quantity for mens mags seems to mean big boobs and lots of them.

As a magaholic, I find this quite disappointing. There is much to be said for style, class and magic when it comes to magazines. I am not being all snobish and talking about the niche and art-like publications that I normally go on about, but even with your main stream stock standard titles, some stand out from the others.

Take these two mags. GQ Style is almost 3 times the price of Loaded. The latter has quantity in quantities. GQ appeals to our desire for style rather than drooling. What I have never understood is why those of us out there who buy the latter type of magazine don't simply buy Hustler, have a good wank and be done with it.

We have sold much more GQ Style at mag nation than Loaded, despite the price point. Kind of restores my faith in the male gender. Quality is important.

But the cynic in me says we are buying GQ Style so we can learn a thing or two and eventually get laid anyway. Perhaps quality is our guise for ending up with quality. Taking this argument further, men would buy business magazines to help them get rich so they can impress women and eventually, end up with someone like Loaded girl. All way too confusing. Maybe I should just stick to music mags...

Friday, October 20

Blender you bloody mind bender

I quite like Blender. Or at least I did. Their tag line is "The Ultimate Guide to Music and More"


I am soooo sick of this girl. And how relevant to your average music lover is Paris in a "I don't know what the f#*k type" bra and fish nets?

In the mag industry, they say that covers are what sell a mag. I really hope that this particular issue doesn't sell well. Hopefully, Blender will go back to doing what they do well - being a music mag and appealing to beat rather beat off lovers.

That's my hand in the photo by the way (yes everyone - I'm bleck - as in Lethal Weapon 2 for those of you who think I can't spell "black"). The positioning of my finger hopefully conveys my opinion of this particular cover...

Blender will bounce back and I will like them again. Pity I had to blog about the cover because the content is as always, pretty good. Integrity is a dirty word in today's world where a young girl with heaps of money and the propensity to take her clothes off gets so much attention. This blog entry is not helping the cause... maybe if I had ignored it, it would have all gone away.

Tuesday, October 17

To all the magazines I've loved before

who've travelled in and out my door...

I'm in a musical mood today. Must be the kick arse playlist that is currently on at mag nation (and no - there is no Julio Iglesis or Willy Nelson on it)

We are having a mag nation launch party tonight. Or more accurately, a 6 month celebration. Everyone said we would die within a month of opening. You are allowing people to browse??? The evil B word. What - you mean you actually encourage it???

Imagine buying a pair of jeans without trying them on I say. They just scoffed.

So, I have to give a speech to say thank you to heaps of people. Staff, family, customers - the really important people.

What about the magazines. I get so excited when cool new publications come in (hopefully by tomorrow I can show you some unbelievable cool new zines in the design space that we are going to be stocking - just beautiful things).

Thank you to all the magazines. Can't say this during my speech or people will think I am off my rocker. But thanks guys (and gals). Can't imagine mag nation without you. I guess we'd just be nation and frankly, that would be quite boring.

Thursday, October 12

Its Just Wrong

I love the French editions of various magazines. They have so much class and style. Even having a French Vogue in hand sort of makes me feel glamorous. It doesn't matter that I understand bumpkis. French mags are the type that need to be read with sunnies on.

Was flicking through a newly arrived title this morning - Vogue Paris Hommes International. French Vogue for men - now that is cool. Anyway, was flicking through, looking at the various fashion gods, wishing I was able to look like them... stop, wait, now that it just wrong.

I definitely do not want to look like this.

Don't misunderstand me. Ralph Lauren is a great brand (the suit belongs to them and I don't want them to sue me). The suit in question is actually quite nice (a mon avis). But I do not want to look like that. What is the world coming to? In order to be glamorous and fashionable, do I need to take estrogen but grow a mo so that no one thinks I am a chick?

The French can keep their style and glamour. Maybe I will just stick to my tank top and faded boardies. Even women would beat me up if I walked around like that. If that is fashion, then its just wrong.

Wednesday, October 11

The Faces of Q

Q is one of my favourite music mags. It obviously has a huge following for a reason.

The current issue out from the UK is the 20th anniversary issue, and how cool is this, the magazine comes with 20 different covers. We got in 12 copies to mag nation in Melb and sold all within a few hours. When there were 9 left, I was going to snap a photo for this entry, but someone obviously shares my opinion that this is a very cool concept, and he bought all 9!

Check out the link to see more details about the mag. http://www.q4music.com/nav?page=q4music.about.currentissue

Trying to get more in for anyone who cares. If not, I will keep them myself. These will be collectors items one day.

I am going to be rich baby... Q - you are my sugadaddy

Monday, October 9

Cover Power

In the mag industry, covers do matter. Its amazing how a particular title can sell like crap for one particular issue, and then go gangbusters for the following issue.

I remember about a year ago in NZ, BBC Topgear (a car title for those who don't know it) had a pronounced drop in sales for one particular issue. Till then it had been selling consistently well, but they then did an issue on Japanese cars and the cover was pink... now I love pink and even have a number of pink shirts but I'm guessing that your average revhead (an affectionate term - I love all magazine lovers) ain't quite into it. Sales of that issue tanked.

The current issue of Harper's Bazaar has sold more copies at our Elizabeth St store than any previous HB issue that we have had. The difference after one week on sale is almost an increase of 80%. Take a look at the cover. Whether or not you like Posh is not the point here. The cover is gold. It reflects light and looks very nice and shiny. And when you are confronted by the mass of titles that is our world, some titles stand up and say "buy me" more than others.

We are such visual beings. Many of you will love Harper's Bazaar, many of you will hate what it stands for. But if you come into our store in the next few weeks, I bet most of you will see it.

Friday, October 6

Small Publishers

Think of that little niche mag that you love. It is very specialised, doesn't have a huge circulation, but speaks to that sweet spot in you which makes you go out and buy it. Often, the more niche it is, the more you tend to love it.

Next time you are enjoying this mag, spare a thought for the person behind the mag. It really often is one person who has put all on the line and is managing a small staff who are all idealists and believe their little publication can change the world.

And if it does change your world, even just a little, write to them and tell them this. Unless they have obtained a cult following (and some of them do this amazingly well), then you can bet your bottom dollar that your bottom dollar is about the equivalent of their net worth. They may struggle to feed themselves but your little note will sustain them in another way and may just keep them battling against the odds for that bit longer.

Hats off to all those small publishers out there. Without you, the world would be nothing other than mainstream.

Thursday, October 5

White Wallpaper or Paint?

Has anyone seen the new airfreighted edition of Wallpaper*? It is the 10 year anniversary edition and very cool.

I find it quite interesting how increasingly publishers are producing two (or more) front covers for the same issue of a magazine. This month's Wallpaper is all white - quite a daring move from a style perspective but I'm just your average magazinehead and what do I know about style. The cool thing is that the title appears in black on some versions of the mag, and in white on others (look carefully at the mag on the left and you may see the writing in white).

Makes it very hard from a retailer's perspective. You can't read the white writing on a white background, so people are thinking what the hell is that? I have had to put the black masthead version above the white masthead version so that people don't think I am trying to sell them a blank piece of A4 paper with a few orange splotches on it.

I have to admit that I quite like the all white mag and masthead. Sort of intriguing. But Wallpaper* are certainly not living up to their name with this issue. Perhaps they should have called this one Paint*

Wednesday, October 4

Dumbo feather, pass it on

What's the best named magazine in the market? Very subjective question but I am going to put my vote in for Dumbo Feather Pass It On. It also happens to be one of my favourite publications out there.

While I don't know for sure, it would seem to me that it has been named after the magic feather that helped Dumbo the baby elephant fly and achieve his dreams (I loved that story as a kid). Kate Bezar and her team from Dumbo Feather are trying to give flight to the dreams in all of us by telling us the stories of normal but at the same time, inspirational people. They use what is sometimes refered to as "deep structure" interviews to get beyond the surface and into the hearts and minds of their interview subjects. The publication itself is also a beautiful work of art - wonderful images and paper.

Imagine my surprise when I picked up Dumbo Feather last night, started to read one of the stories, and thought "I know her". Brigid Hardy (second interviewee in Issue nine) was a workmate of mine. This was when I was still a management consultant; prior to having been hit on the head, lost all my senses and given up future riches beyond belief to live for magazines.

While she was a consultant, Brigid met a really rich dude called Stephen Tindall who backed her to achieve a dream. While at the same company, I once met a guy who knew another guy who had dinner with Nicole Kidman's gardener's son...

Dumbo Feather Pass It On speaks to me at a personal level. Not sure whether it is the word Dumbo (people's take on my intellect) or the word Feather (my desired weight). I think rather that I am hoping that the Pass It On part is what will apply and that despite the stupidity of dedicating your life to magazines, my dreams will also fly.

Tuesday, October 3


When we started mag nation, we were pretty clear that we were not going to be a newsagent and that we were going to focus almost exclusively on magazines.

So what is a magazine?

How do you distinguish between a magazine, a newspaper, a journal and a book?

The somewhat cheeky answer is that being the magazine experts, we can stock want we want, call it a mag, and hope everyone else follows our lead. But in reality, some of my favourite titles blur the line between a mag and a book. I don't know who coined the phrase, but we refer to them as "mooks".

Some of my favourites are Semi Permanent, Curvy and Dumbo Feather Pass it On (ok, so Semi Permanent looks and feels like a book. I don't care - I love it and am claiming it as a mag, or in worst case, a mook).

Mooks provide content taken to new levels in the format of a magazine. Much more beautiful than your average book, mooks are often works of art in themselves.

I am now eagerly awaiting the marriage of a newspaper and a journal (a newnal), a newspaper with a mag (a nag) and a book with a newsletter (a bewsletter). Don't tell me the magazine industry is not interesting!