Podcast: Small Magazines

by Steve Watson in February 2017

We released the audio from a couple of last year’s live events over the Christmas break and they worked really well as podcast episodes, so this year I’m going to mix the podcast up with the usual one-to-one conversations, and longer recordings from panel discussions and other live events.

This week’s episode is from the first Stack Live event of 2017, recorded on 24 January at The Book Club in London, and featuring Liv Siddall, editor of the Rough Trade magazine, Jack Self, editor and founder of Real Review, and Steven Gregor, ex-Gym Class and currently in the early stages of working on his next print project.

I was struck last year by the rise of small magazines that seemed to be actively pursuing a more diminutive form of publishing. Of course there have probably been small magazines around for as long as there have been magazines, but this felt like a conscious response to the steady increase in cover prices and paper weight that we’ve seen across independent publishing over the last five years. Sofa was probably the one that really drew my attention to the phenomenon; made by Ricarda Messner, who also publishes Flaneur, Sofa is her attempt to find profitability by making a smaller, cheaper magazine that’s still packed with quality content. (You can hear her speaking about that in detail in this previous podcast episode.)

This concern about the precarious finances of some independent magazines that charge a lot but make a loss is just one of the themes our panel took up on the night – listen through to the end of the Q&A session for a particularly stark warning from Steven. Other subjects included the floppy accessibility of cheaper print, the painstaking work that goes into making something look simple, and of course the many various headaches that come with publishing your own magazine.

As ever the conversation was open and honest, and I hope you enjoy it. If you’d like to hear more, head over to Soundcloud or iTunes and sign up to have new episodes delivered to you every Friday. Happy listening!

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