Some serious thought went into deciding the price of the magazine. A good chunk of this time was spent figuring out what type of magazine we wanted to make and who our audience was. For those of you familiar with the recent wave of independent magazines, our price of $23 US fits in with the price of well-made indie magazines. For those of you only used to seeing magazines priced between $5 US and $10 US, then our price may seem far-fetched.
To get something out the way, no magazine really costs $5 US or $10 US. The reason why major publications can price their magazines at that price is because their issues are mostly subsidized by a large number of ads. Being owned by media conglomerates also helps as printing costs can be subsidized by money made by other business operations. In short, printing a magazine is an expensive endeavour. Especially, if one wants to independently print a premium magazine with high-quality materials and doesn’t want to fill 50% of it or more with ads.
Although printing costs are generally high, my costs are even higher because I didn’t have the substantial cash needed to use a traditional printer as originally intended. Instead of abandoning the making of this magazine or sacrificing the quality of the magazine, I decided to find an alternative and decided on using Blurb, an on-demand printer to print this first issue. This made my dream of launching a magazine a possibility again, but also greatly increased my printing costs.
Given the quality of paper stock used for our first issue, my original cost per issue from Blurb was $22.79 US. By creatively pricing the magazine in Canadian dollars (my local currency) instead of US dollars as intended, I managed to reduce our printing costs enough to offer the magazine for sale at $23 US (once Canadian dollars have been converted to US dollars).
Having to use Blurb did have an unintended positive consequence, it meant that I could pay everyone who helped me make this magazine a reality and help encourage them in their pursuit of their craft. It freed me from having to make a choice between paying my collaborators or having the financial means to print an independent magazine.
As a tiny team of one to three people at any time, we rely on our readers’ support in order to survive and thrive as a magazine. I want this magazine to focus on finding, creating and sharing stories that connect with our readers, not pandering to advertisers and putting them ahead of readers. Yes, we plan to have a sponsorship model with compatible brands moving forward (we have one sponsor featured in our debut issue), but it will tasteful and won’t interfere with the reading experience.
When you purchase this issue, what you’re supporting is someone who’s spent 24 to 35 hours straight sometimes without sleeping sourcing printers, creating all the magazine features from scratch and collecting stories to share. You’re supporting two people on different sides of the world with no experience in the print industry whatsoever, who’ve made the necessary sacrifices to learn how to create a beautifully designed magazine over the past four months. You’re helping talented writers and editors showcase their work on our platform and build their portfolios. You’re also helping a nascent publication find itself and grow.
To make this issue as accessible as possible, we’ve also made our magazine available for purchase as a PDF at a fraction of the cost. Each and every purchase means a lot to me and all the collaborators and contributors that have made issue 00 of Vault possible.