Expect a Whole Lot of Love for Independent Magazines in 2017

There’s a healthy dose of optimism when you talk to indie publishing experts these days; 2017 is shaping up to be a good year for the industry.

Indie magazines – they’re the heart and soul of our industry, and they’ve come off a great year in 2016. The beauty of the indie magazine in our modern world is that it’s easier than ever to connect with a tribe based on shared passions or similar vibes.

And this bodes well for independent publishers.

“Whatever else went down in 2016, it was a strong year for magazines; this will go down in the books as the year independent publishing came of age,” writes Ruth Jamieson in the Eye on Design blog from the AIGA.

So what’s ahead this year? Jamieson interviewed several of the indie world’s brightest minds and came up with some intriguing predictions.

“The current format of thick, expensive independent magazines can be seen as a response to the mainstream cutting their production budgets and making cheaper, thinner magazines,” predicts Steve Watson of Stack Magazines. We’re not sure we completely agree with that one; readers seem to revel in the luxe look and feel of modern indies, but it’s true there are some titles out there taking the alternate route and getting good buzz.

One thing we do agree on is that brand publishing will be bigger than ever.

“We’ll also see more brands and businesses making independent style magazines,” Watson continues.

The business model is evolving as well, as noted by Busra Erkara of Wayward Wild, who says, “… we’re seeing something interesting happening. In addition to independent brands supporting independent magazines, whole creative communities started supporting print publications and vice versa.”

“The fetishization of print will continue,” Erkara predicts. “Magazines have become more like specialty books. It’s even more about the experience than it was before.

“I think honesty, disorder, and a healthy dose of anger is what is coming up next, culturally. Definitely protest, and anarchy, almost. I really can’t wait for it,” she adds.

Most all agree: the future for indie magazines looks solid for publishers who can capture something new, something unique and something relevant to their readership. Long-form critical essays, political discourse and in-depth niche content are all top of mind for these publishers, and they’re finding willing audiences to consume.

The golden age for indie magazines continues.