29th Street Publishing at the Modern Magazine Conference

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29th Street Publishing CEO David Jacobs presented the company's work and philosophy at the 2013 Modern Magazine conference.

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29th Street Publishing at the Modern Magazine Conference

  1. 1. 29th Street Publishing “The Modern Magazine” October 16, 2013 My talk opened the last session of the day, and I remarked that very rarely does a conference with a line-up as stacked as “The Modern Magazine’s” truly deliver, but I felt it had, and I was honored to participate. ! I was part of the “Indie Magazine” track, but for the first six months or so of 29th Street’s existence (this is all prelaunch) we sold ourselves as the “Modern Magazine” company, which was usually met with befuddlement, so we landed on “The best mobile magazines.” I hope that “Modern Magazine” catches on, because moving the medium forward is very important to us as a company. 1 29pco-for-modern-magazine-slideshare - November 11, 2013
  2. 2. We launched our first title - V as in Victor - one year before the week of the conference. Bill Vourvoulias was a lifelong magaziner, having worked at The New Yorker, Interview, ESPN and elsewhere, but he couldn't find a job doing what he wanted. Despite the huge market, there are actually no Engish-language magazines focusing on Latinos in sports, so he started his own. Since then we’ve helped to launch or bring to iOS and the web twenty magazines some new, some old, and the different shapes & sizes of these magazines will be the running theme throughout my talk. 2 29pco-for-modern-magazine-slideshare - November 11, 2013
  3. 3. Digital is good for print. I am somewhat heartened to hear so much pro-digital sentiment today, especially since my company is the only digitally-focused company represented today. I want to talk a little bit about content strategy today, and I want to talk especially about how our tools inform the way we read and write on the web. Twitter is an extreme example, but it’s a good one. All day people have been talking about how Twitter helps indie magazines find their audience. It’s a publishing tool, but it’s not one you’d ever use to make a magazine. It’s an example of a tool that does one thing really well and has all sorts of applications. ! At 29th Street, we also strive to build tools that are aware of the form they are inhabiting and steer writers and artists towards content that will work best on a mobile screen. If you consider the rate of change of these tools, like ours and twitter, and how much time we spend in them today when they didn’t even exist a few years ago, it’s really remarkable. Every single other speaker on stage today has a publishing career that predates almost every single digital tool we all will use today. 3 29pco-for-modern-magazine-slideshare - November 11, 2013
  4. 4. Another thing that has changed over the last decade is the arc of a career in publishing. It used to be that you could get an english or literature degree from a liberal arts school, get an internship at an established publishing house, and parlay that into an associate editor job by the time you were in your late-20s. It wasn’t a glamorous life, but it was a good life. Now that is gone. There are many fewer paying jobs, and almost all of the most successful magazines you have heard from today are the product of teams of 4 or 5 people. In fact, if you didn’t know this was a publishing conference, you’d think it was a start-up conference. And that’s to the heart of my point today - that magazines need to think more like start-ups, and of course most of the great ones already are. 4 29pco-for-modern-magazine-slideshare - November 11, 2013
  5. 5. Richard Turley recently told the stack that “you can’t stumble upon an iPad magazine,” and he is entirely correct. But a magazine lover on the web can spend hours reading about new work on-line. Just reading Bob Newman’s archives on SPD is the equivalent of, if not better, any design 101 class you can get in school. 5 29pco-for-modern-magazine-slideshare - November 11, 2013
  6. 6. And here’s 29th Street’s own Tim Moore, talking about the fourth edition of Letter to Jane. So the web enables us to stumble upon not only great art, but great artists as well. SPD is where I first learned of Tim’s work, by the way, and now he’s our creative director. 6 29pco-for-modern-magazine-slideshare - November 11, 2013
  7. 7. And obviously you heard from Penny Martin, the editor-in-chief of the Gentlewoman earlier today. When Natalie and I were browsing a newsstand in the Fall of 2011 we came upon this issue of the magazine, and we were struck not just by the design and content (which continue to inspire us) but how each subsequent issue iteratively improved on the last one. The Gentlewoman is a more effective start-up than most start-us. And as you heard Ms. Martin say earlier today, they only have four full-time employees to publish this magazine with a near six-figure circulation. 7 29pco-for-modern-magazine-slideshare - November 11, 2013
  8. 8. We are building a publisher-centric publishing system. So at 29th Street we are taking what we love about the web and our favorite magazines and building a publishercentric publishing system. One of the themes that has been running throughout the day is that great publishers have a passion for serving their readers. So we are building tools that can help publishers do exactly that. We know that publishers know their own readers better than we do although hopefully we can help get to know them and serve them better. 8 29pco-for-modern-magazine-slideshare - November 11, 2013
  9. 9. So now I’m going to show some of our work. This is the cover of our Creative Direcotr Tim Moore’s newest issue of Letter to Jane. 9 29pco-for-modern-magazine-slideshare - November 11, 2013
  10. 10. Here’s a photo by Jeff Luker, which accompanies an interview with the photographer. In contrast to a lot of other iPad apps, you can see Tim’s attitude to photography: If you want to showcase the work, the best thing to do is to get out of the way. 10 29pco-for-modern-magazine-slideshare - November 11, 2013
  11. 11. On the left, you can see screenshot of a chapter section lead in his app. It looks like it’s a busy page, but like a magazine, doing almost anything on this screen will lead you to the next page. And on the right, I just wanted to show off that we care very much about the ability to copy & share yet. It’s a simple thing, but obviously something we don’t want to take for granted. 11 29pco-for-modern-magazine-slideshare - November 11, 2013
  12. 12. This is the cover of Harper’s Magazine, one of the oldest magazine (if not the oldest magazine) still in circulation today. We’re launching their iOS & Android versions in the next month. 12 29pco-for-modern-magazine-slideshare - November 11, 2013
  13. 13. The Harper’s Magazine app will qualify as a replica of the magazine, so it will count towards their circulation numbers. But of course we used everything we learned in other apps about navigation and the user experience. But the thing that make Harper’s Harper’s, the blue, the type, and of course the content itself, are all there exactly as you’d find them in the print edition. 13 29pco-for-modern-magazine-slideshare - November 11, 2013
  14. 14. I wanted to include these iPhone images because this is where there’s the biggest advantage over the more literal replica editions in market. No one should ever shrink a print product down to the size of an iPhone screen, it simply makes no sense. We designed the iPhone edition so that the photography & text would work as well as they do on the iPad or in print. 14 29pco-for-modern-magazine-slideshare - November 11, 2013
  15. 15. And finally I want to talk about Emily Gould and Ruth Curry’s project, Emily Books. Emily Gould also works with us, as our editorial directory. Emily and Ruth knew there were great books that weren’t getting found by the right readers, so they started an e-bookstore to solve that problem. They didn’t found an app company, they founded a book store, and electronic distribution turned out to be the most convenient. 15 29pco-for-modern-magazine-slideshare - November 11, 2013
  16. 16. In addition to the books content, there are interviews and essays, some of them commissioned for these editions, that accompany the work. 16 29pco-for-modern-magazine-slideshare - November 11, 2013
  17. 17. I went to an e-book conference last year and in one of the sessions, designers from very large publishing houses were lamenting “the death of type.” I understand where this is coming from - many of the biggest and most popular e-reading apps either put the type decisions in the hand of the reader or make it impossible for the publisher to choose the type at all, but for us, it was important to offer type features so that the publisher could include their font of choice. 17 29pco-for-modern-magazine-slideshare - November 11, 2013
  18. 18. We are building “The Modern Magazine.” From start-ups to established magazines we are trying to figure out what the Modern Magazine should look like for the mobile viewer. Here are two screenshots of the newsstand, where most of our magazines live right now. There are a lot of things that are good about it, but when you step back and look at it from this context, especially in comparison to the web or real-life newsstands, you get a feeling for how far we have to go. 18 29pco-for-modern-magazine-slideshare - November 11, 2013
  19. 19. Thank you! @29pco / http://29.io ! 29th Street Publishing is: Natalie Podrazik, David Jacobs, Timothy Moore, Nozlee Samadzadeh, Emily Gould, Alaina Browne, Duncan Regan, and Greg Knauss. Thank you. 19 29pco-for-modern-magazine-slideshare - November 11, 2013

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