MagCloud magazine review

MagCloud (American online publishing service founded by Hewlett-Packard in 2008) was bought by Blurb (in 2014).

Used Blurb services, mostly for paid work. The results I got were mixed. Sometimes the delivered product had oversaturated colors, other times there was banding on my full-color pages. Yes, I did use their color profiles and my monitor was calibrated properly. In their defense, when I reached out they always reprinted/sent out a new copy without charging extra. The inconsistent results (and the lack of lay-flat or magazine options at that time) stirred me away from them and I started doing some research on alternatives.

Had a brainfart recently that made me consider doing a printed blog of sorts in magazine form. More on that later. Anyways, that’s how I rediscovered MagCloud. Realised I already ordered one of Zack Arias‘s books from them a couple of years ago that I completely forgot about. Further reading revealed that Blurb, probably aiming to monopolize the print on demand industry, bought them up.

Was ready to disregard MagCloud at this point and was already DuckDuckGo-ing myself further since I recently ordered a magazine type “book” from Blurb and it, again was a disappointing experience. Not sure why, but their quality control seems to be very poor. They probably outgrew themselves and quantity + profit margins are prioritized before quality or long-term goals.

Just to be 100% sure, eliminate any doubt I ordered a pretty much random magazine from MagCloud to see if I get the same Blurb crap. Did Blurb buy them and kill them off just to eliminate any competition?!

I’m happy to report that no… Somehow MagCloud is still MagCloud. See for yourself in the video below. Compared it to the closest thing I had laying around. Random H&M product catalog (since the Blurb mag I mentioned earlier was not around).

There is no banding issues, colors, gradients are nice and smooth, print resolution is also satisfactory. Was really disappointing with the blurb books (even with their “pro line”). Binding was also very fragile and low-budget-ish. Not sure what Blurb delivers nowadays but I would not recommend them to anyone anymore. On the other hand, if you want a magazine I would recommend MagCloud. They don’t have such a wide variety and choice when it comes to paper types of formats but the fewer options they do offer are more quality oriented.

I would be really curious where and for how much could an individual print on demand the exact same type of magazine the H&M catalog is made of. If you have any info/links to the company making those please share it in the comments section below. I’m guessing they have some sort of contract with some big industrial printing business and they print hundreds of thousands of copies so the cost per copy probably is pretty “low”. I’d be curious anyhow.

So, there you have it. There weren’t many MagCloud magazine showcase materials besides some short promo videos and such that really help make one’s mind up so I decided to try and fill that gap. Hope this helps somebody out.

Cheers!

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