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Print is dead. Long live Print! or The Rise of the Independent Football Magazine

August 24, 2018

Print is Dead. Long Live Print

 

Not that long ago many publishing and media industry commentators were telling us that the future of magazines, newspapers and books was not looking good. Electronic delivery of content was the future – all of our media consumption was to be via e-book readers, tablets and mobile phones. For a few years this seemed to be a fairly safe and solid prediction – newspapers closed due to falling circulations, high print run magazines fought over the same dwindling readership, and advertisers feared that their valuable £’s were being wasted. So publishers rushed to create online versions of magazines promising interactive elements that ‘ye olde’ paper and ink couldn’t deliver but it seems that readers weren’t convinced and the uptake wasn’t as great as hoped or expected.

So if the above predictions and outcomes were true why are there now more independent magazines than ever and how do magazine stores such as the outstanding magMA survive?

Numerous new magazines have been launched in recent years, regrettably and inevitably some haven’t survived, but those that have and continue to do so are those that seem to really know their audience and speak to them. Maybe the key to successful independent publishing is to choose your niche carefully and try to ensure your coverage is not too general. Often faced with high ‘set up’ costs and lack of advertising income indie publishers face a necessity of having to price their output at a ‘premium’ rate and so the typography, design and photography is a key part of their visual identity. Even the quality of paper stock needs to be carefully considered – it needs to lend an air of quality and helps place the publication as a collectable item or something to treasure. Alongside these more physical features, the quality of the words contained within each article and issue have to deliver and connect with the reader. Otherwise, it’s just form over function…and nobody wants that.

Football has been one particular area of the independent magazine sector that happily does seem to have prospered. Below are some of our favourite football magazines that we really think you should subscribe to or at least try for an issue or two.

 

 

 

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NPLH is a fan-focused magazine that looks for the unique and niche stories within football. The creators, all football fans with real love for the game, aim to provide alternative perspectives on the beautiful game and seek romance in the unusual, untold corners of the sport, as well as unique takes on familiar stories. The team at NPLH try to ensure that all aspects of the game are represented in each issue – Elite level / non league or grass-roots and the women’s game.

Cost – £7 per issue

Subscription – 3 issues for £21

 

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Originally launched as a one-off to celebrate the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, MUNDIAL is now a quarterly football lifestyle magazine that has gone from strength to strength. Each issue is put together by a number of contributors who are clearly fans and they really seem to strike a chord with other fans – especially us here at The Boot Room! Their undoubted love and interest in fans, kits, photography, boots, nostalgia, goals, illustrations, pubs, and words is what really resonates with us. The magazine is more about the cultural aspects of football than the actual game but that’s perfectly fine with us. Oh, and they also do some cracking t-shirts, pin badges and other goodies. Their weekly newsletter is great too – you should sign up if you haven’t already!

Cost – £7 per issue

Subscription – £30 per year (UK)

 

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Glory is a new football magazine with an ethos to put the ‘beautiful’ back into the beautiful game. They travel the world documenting alternative football cultures including the most remote, exotic and unusual destinations. Each issue focuses on a particular country – so far issues have covered the Faroe Islands, Kosovo and Sweden with the Republic of Ireland the next to be featured. Don’t expect to see coverage of the Premier League, the Champions League, World Cup or even the Football League and  major European club competitions. The focus is instead on the countless nations where die-hard fans pack remote, windswept stadia to watch their favourite teams.

Cost – £10 per issue

 

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We’re long time subscribers and fans of The Blizzard (since Issue Zero) and we’ve never failed to be impressed by the quality of the writing inside every issue. The articles and pieces inside tend to be a longer form than you’d find online or in some other magazines but this provides the writers with the freedom to write about what really interests them or what really matters to them. Inside every issue there’s a great mix of history, culture, interviews, profiles and even fiction!

Cost – £12 per issue

Subscriptions – Print + online   from £40 per year or Online only £20 per year

 

 

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Stack is a subscription service for independent magazines and was launched in 2008 as a showcase for independent magazines and their editors, designers and publishers. As with most of the new breed of magazines, in fact any magazine, the best way to enjoy them is to actually hold them in your hands and read them! Stack have two ways of helping you do that: You can either choose from their extensive range of magazines (not just football) in their shop, or let them surprise you every month with their subscription service and you’ll receive a surprise delivery every month.

We still get that sense of anticipation and excitement  when the latest issue of the above magazines land on the door mat and we sincerely believe that there is definitely a place for print alongside the other media channels.

Print is dead! Long live Print!

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