I’m reviewing my own magazine. Here’s why.
We’ve been calling ourselves a magazine since we launched in 2009, but we didn’t decide to actually produce a magazine until sometime in late 2012. Since then, we’ve published 14 issues – 12 in volume 1 (2013), 1 in volume 2 (2014), and 1 so far in volume 3 (2015). I’ve bought a printed copy of every issue. It’s awesome when the right thing to do – buy something you hope others will buy – is also so rewarding – holding the magazine you made in your hands.
I’m hoping you might want to help us with our mission and hold a copy in your own hands. Before we get into the latest iteration of GBXM, let’s recap a brief history of Gearbox Magazine issues…
We started on Issuu.
We started over on Issuu. Their digital issue service worked well enough (and has improved quite a bit since), but Issuu only lets publishers order printed copies through their print-on-demand (POD) partner, Peecho. The last issue I had printed through Peecho was 01.03, for which I paid $26.26 including shipping.
Then we moved to Blurb.
A good friend who works for the largest commercial printing firm in the country, mentioned a small subsidiary he’d heard of called Blurb. Blurb brought the price per issue down a little bit. I picked up issue 02.04 for $22.82. That’s not bad, but it’s not great, either.
What really sucked was that Blurb’s digital preview is nowhere near as nice as Issuu’s. So now we were making two separate files for two separate platforms. You’re worth it, though.
Now we’re on Amazon.
I ordered a copy right away to see how it turned out. Four days later, it was in my mailbox. Score!
Technically, Amazon doesn’t consider it a magazine. They call it a “trade book.” It’s full-color, printed edge-to-edge, and damn near the same exact size as a traditional magazine. I’m happy with it.
Price to my door? $20.54 including sales tax. 10% less than Blurb. 20% less than Peecho.
What’s the quality like?
I’m impressed. The cover is super glossy and the interior pages are semi-gloss. It’s not as slick as the issues from Blurb, but it’s close, and I like the softer, thicker interior feel. Here’s a close up shot of the surface of the interior pages where you can get a sense of the finish.
Everything’s different, and yet, the same.
Overall, I’m not sure it feels *exactly* like a *traditional* magazine or not. I don’t know if that’s because I’ve mentally anchored myself to the whole “trade book” thing, because I didn’t personally lay it out and built it, or just because it’s so slightly different from the previous issues my brain can’t immediately identify what’s different.
I just know it feels right in my hands. The cover folds over nice and clean, the pages are consistently nice, and once again GBXM has a real, actual product available for purchase.
This is exactly what we’re after.
We call ourselves a magazine. We publish a magazine.
We call ourselves a business. We have a product for sale.
The price is still a bit high, but Amazon has a habit of marking things down on sale from time to time. Maybe they do this to generate more sales (remember, they make money on this too), maybe they do it in response to a lot of sales. Nobody does supply and demand quite like Amazon these days.
We’re never going to leave beta. You can expect us to keep changing things up in pursuit of the dream. Whatever gets us closer to helping gearheads build high performance machines and lives, that’s what we’re going to do. (And we’re going to be doing some different things in the near future!) I hope you think this new issue is as cool as I do.
What do YOU think?