Free magazines worth reading

by Steve Watson in January 2010
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When Stack started I had the vague idea that I’d try to send out free stuff with each delivery, but I couldn’t be sure how well it’d work. I didn’t know if there were enough good free things out there and I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to afford the extra postage, but looking back over the last year free stuff has become a central part of the Stack deliveries.

In the last few months Stack has sent out some really high quality titles for free, including POSTR, Anonthology, mini mags from Little White Lies and Huck, and the zines collected by the good people at Zineswap. And there’s no sign of it stopping – the January delivery includes a magazine called Ideas Illustrated and I’ve got free gifts planned in for the next three months’ deliveries (as long as they don’t make the packs too heavy).

At a time when received the wisdom is that you can’t fund a publication on advertising alone, the mini mags from Little White Lies and Huck are showing that a clever bit of publishing can make advertisers pay. And Anonthology and Ideas Illustrated demonstrate that if a company wants to engage customers with quality content, it can do much worse than look to print.

Ideas Illustrated is a particularly good example. Essentially a catalogue designed to showcase the different illustrators on YCN‘s books, it succeeds as a small magazine packed full of clever ideas, one-liners and bits of inspiration. And it’s ideal for its purpose, going beyond the limits of a conventional catalogue by actually showing the illustrators’ work in the context of advertising and editorial in a single package, which is after all what YCN wants you to commission the illustrators to do. Very clever.

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