Over the past few months I have been using Magcloud, the magazine self-publishing web service from HP, for both commercial and personal projects. We used it to print the first issue of the Who Ate All the Pies magazine (get yours here http://www.magcloud.com/browse/Issue/142915), and I have also used its turn a Flickr stream into a photo mag for family and friends.
For me Magcloud is a really great option for indie publishers. Overall the Pies experience with the service was good. We created the PDFs and uploaded them and within minutes we had orders for our print magazine and people downloading the iPad version.
I do think printed and tablet magazines offer a good opportunity to small publishers to take their brand away from being web only. It enables them to offer longer stories, create richer designs and generally engage in a different way with their fans. Magcloud is by no means the only option for producing magazines, especially tablet ones, but it has worked well so far.
So I am heartened to hear that the service has been upgraded to. One of its weaknesses was that it could only offer print and iPad versions. Now there are lot of people who won’t pay for a print product and who don’t have an iPad. So now that the company is offering the magazines in a digital, PDF version compatible with just about every electronic device I think it could make Magcloud even more useful.
Magcloud publishers will also have the choice of distributing their digital issues free-of-charge or at a cost. If opting for paid for digital issues, each publisher can set the selling price to whatever he sees fit as long as it is above the minimum requirement of $1.70% of all digital sales will go to the publisher. Alternatively publishers can opt for a print and digital bundle, which offers a paid print order and free digital issue.
As I mentioned earlier there are some interesting alternatives to Magcloud that I am currently exploring, but so far, for the quality of the print job, the ease of use and the fantastic option of print on demand I can heartily reccomend it.