My recent interview with John L Walters, editor and co-owner of Eye magazine, confirmed one of my long-held beliefs – print can be sustainable.
I also believe that the traditional publishing business model, drawing the majority of its revenue from copy sales and advertising, in the right circumstances can still thrive, which is how I came to write about Eye.
John first got in touch earlier this year, keen to share Eye’s story. He had read one of my InPublishing articles about a recent magazine conference in Chicago, Mapping The Magazine 5, where I had presented a paper on Lessons from the past, evaluating the sustainability of magazines.
Not only is Eye sustainable, but it is also unique because unlike many, this quarterly title makes money from subscription and copy sales. It also has a healthy advertising revenue stream, making it a compelling case study when this basic publishing model is now considered outdated by many and doomed to fail.
Yet Eye has those vital ingredients that ensure its success – relevance, a passionate team, collectable issues and an audience who love the magazine. Indeed, these traits are the reason it defies the odds.
John is also a driving force. He lives and breathes design. It is also clear early on in our interview that he cares deeply about the graphic design industry, as well as the magazine and its readers.
Every detail of the publication has been carefully thought through, from the editorial to the stock it is printed on. Unlike many publications, fresh talent is not only encouraged but actively sought. Each issue has four or five new writers keeping the content thought-provoking and vibrant.
From a consultancy perspective
In an industry where the lines are fast becoming blurred with content marketing masquerading as editorial and seeping into publications across the market sector, Eye stands out.
This is a magazine that values its independence and remains true to its identity rather than emulating others – a mistake many publishers make as evidenced by cover lines on the newsstands. At £17 a copy it is not cheap, but every issue is designed to be collectible, further enhancing the value proposition and adding longevity to the advertising inside. It is not surprising that both readers and advertisers share a deep love of this specialist title.
To find out more, read my interview with John L Walters, An eye for quality, published in the Sept/Oct issue of InPublishing.