For Domino Magazine, Less Means More 

Following the publishing trends of higher quality and lower circulationDomino magazine seems to be making a solid comeback since re-launching last fall.

The magazine, which originally debuted as a mass-market monthly but shuttered during the recession, is now a quarterly magazine with a smaller, and highly enthusiastic, reader base according to Michael Rondon in Folio:.

domino“Despite print’s central role—and an audience that clamored for its return—the business model behind Domino‘s first iteration was faulty. It was a mass-market monthly that cost $3.50 an issue and had a 1 million-plus circulation at its height. It was one of many victims of the recession,” Rondon writes.

While digital and e-commerce have helped to retool the business model into a successful one, the changes to their print model were equally important, explained Domino’s Beth Fuchs Brenner.

“It’s not about selling more copies to more people, it’s about selling fewer copies to those who really want it badly enough,” Brenner says to Rondon. “It’s something I wanted to try for my entire career. And advertisers beat us up over it every day asking why we don’t charge more for our magazine. We believe—and we think the four years we were gone really proved it—that if people really wanted it, they would pay for it. So we’re testing that theory.”

And according to Brenner, print is still what ties the title together, even with the addition of digital, mobile and e-commerce tie-ins.

“Our core product will always be our magazine,” Brenner is quoted as saying. “It’s the heart and soul, it’s the vehicle that allowed us to bring back the brand, it’s the halo,” she says. “The Web and commerce aspects of the business weren’t possible when we were first publishing, but they help complete the thought. We’re a service vehicle, so it allows us to deliver the service.”

Part of their ability to make these critical changes to their business model now stems from a new arrangement that allows them to operate more independently from Conde Nast, who originally launched the title. Now that Conde Nast is a minority investor, Brenner explains they have more leeway to adjust their business model and operations in general.

That’s the great thing about being small; change is far easier to make when you are nimble. It sounds like Domino has a great approach; it the same idea that is being tried by big and small names throughout the industry and definitely a trend worth following.