Independent Niche Magazines Team Up to Create Subscription Bundle ‘MagBox’

Hoping to survive the closure of bookstores and newsstands during nationwide quarantine

Like so many other subscription businesses, independent niche magazines are hurting in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. To help them stay in business while newsstands and other retail outlets are closed, a group of independent magazines have teamed up to offer avid readers a subscription bundle called “MagBox,” reports Folio. Every other month, subscribers receive a box of niche magazines at up to 50% off the newsstand price, delivered to their homes. Each MagBox contains a different selection of magazines.

“You may have noticed that it’s become a little more difficult to buy the things you like in stores—like magazines. So, we thought we’d bring the store to you. Each MagBox contains a collection of brand-spanking-new, inspiring and beautiful magazines for up to 50% off newsstand prices—and it’s delivered directly to your home,” says MagBox on their website. “No need to get out of your PJs; just brew the coffee, pick a comfortable reading spot and enjoy the beautiful design and insightful stories of our carefully curated magazine selection.”

Photo courtesy of MagBox

MagBox #1, to be delivered in June 2020, and includes the following magazines:

  • Fifty Grande – travel, music and food
  • Drift – coffee, coffee drinkers and the cities where coffee drinkers live
  • ROVA – road vacations and recreational vehicles
  • Adventure Journal – outdoor adventure
  • Sandwich – a celebration of the culinary art of sandwiches

If subscribed to individually, the retail value of MagBox #1 magazines would be $79.95. Subscribers can get the magazine boxes at a discount. The subscription options include the following:

According to the Folio article by senior editor Greg Dool, the project has actually been in the works since 2019, but the coronavirus pandemic made the need for MagBox more urgent.

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“A substantial number of our copy sales are from newsstands and other retail outlets,” says Gemma Peckham, publisher and editor-in-chief at Executive Media Global, in the Folio article. “With the closure of many Barnes & Noble outlets, as well as a number of other retail stores through which we distribute, our circulation has certainly dropped off. We are working on taking orders for our mags directly through our websites, and we’re pushing subscriptions to try to mitigate as much of that loss as possible.”

Insider Take:

So many media organizations are struggling during COVID-19, primarily due to the loss of ad revenue. This situation is a bit different. While independent, niche magazines do have advertising and subscription revenue, they also rely on newsstand sales whether from a bookstore or other retail outlet, the temporary closure of those businesses is hitting this segment of magazines hard. Offering a subscription box is a fun, creative way to introduce people to magazines they might not know about otherwise. The subscription box model is scalable, so pricing and product can be tested to see what works. As a magazine lover myself, I’d love to see MagBox become wildly successful!