How Independent Magazines are Thriving in the Digital Age

The internet has changed the world in virtually every way imaginable. For instance, you can now access cat photos, pizza delivery services, and of course, in just a few short clicks. The most striking way that the internet has changed our lives is the way we access information. From making our plans on social media to reading the news and finding recipes, these days there’s little incentive to leave the comfort of your sofa.

But as digital rises, it’s undeniable that print has suffered. From newspapers such as The Independent deciding to be based solely online to the closure of consumer titles such as Company and FHM, navigating the treacherous waters of the digital age has been difficult.

Still, that’s not to say that print is becoming obsolete. Nielsen BookScan revealed that the week before Christmas 2016 saw the biggest sales of books since 2007, and on the magazine side of things, independent publishers are thriving.

Independent publishing is a subject that’s close to our hearts at HISKIND as we launch our print magazine in March 2017. To learn more about the future of print, we chatted to Steve Watson, the founder of STACK Magazines, an innovative service that allows subscribers to sample a different independent magazine every month.

When we speak to Steve, he’s hot off the heels of a successful week working in New York and the second STACK Awards, an annual event that celebrates the very best of independent magazines. STACK works with about thirty magazines at any given time, which is “deliberately limited” to allow each magazine to reach as many people as possible. Similarly to most nightclubs on a Saturday night, Steve says that a “one in one out” system is in operation.

Aside from the subscription service, Steve and the team run a thriving blog where magazines and publishing trends are discussed on a daily basis. So what’s next for print? Steve gives his thoughts below.

Steve Watson, Founder of STACK Magazines


Print magazines are a brilliant way of building a relationship with a reader. When someone is sitting with a magazine they are focusing on it and it allows for a deeper dialogue as the reader can’t get distracted. I believe that the limitation of the format gives it strength and the best magazines play on that.


If you look at the mainstream market, print is undeniably in a bad way. If you look at ten years ago, the amount of readers and therefore revenue was way up. Print has suffered in the last decade. In fact, you can make a good argument for saying that print is dead.

Still, in the independent industry we are seeing that people all over the world are making their own things and connecting with each other. The Internet has given everyone the opportunity to make a magazine and ship it around the world. Creative people are discovering that print is a great way to show their work. There’s a massive outpouring of passion and creativity – that’s what I’m into and why I started STACK Magazines.


I love Real Review. It’s very clever and is made out of simple materials and paper. They have added an extra fold in the paper, so they’ve taken the machines and put another vertical fold in. It’s a totally new way of flipping pages that’s very simple and extremely effective.


I predict that the independent publishing sector will continue to experience proliferation. We know that lots of people will continue to make their own magazines, which is very exciting.

So there we have it: the future of print is bright. We’re now even more excited to unveil our new print magazine launching in March 2017.

Learn more about STACK Magazines here

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