Yes, we’re sending more online messages and we’re printing less these days. But print is far from dead. And I’m always looking for ways to leverage existing printed documents using online technology, from Issuu, which lets you display printed documents on screen while preserving layout (it’s great for online presentation of printed portfolios) to Scribd, which includes social media sharing/embedding for formatted documents.
MagCloud is another print extender. With this service, you upload your formatted document and people can preview it online. You get a custom URL (like DavidKamerer.MagCloud.com), RSS, and a nice looking page that’s indexed by search engines and can be visible to customers or other stakeholders. The game changer is that MagCloud can also deliver a high-resolution printed version of your work via First Class mail. If you want, the company will handle your mailing list and subscriptions. Or, you can print just one. Digital printing makes flat pricing possible, which is great if you’re doing a small run.
You set the price of your magazine; the finished cost is 20 cents a page, plus $1.40 for U.S. shipping. If you allow a profit margin, MagCloud deposits the profit into your PayPal account.
MagCloud provides detailed instructions for setting up your document (including specifics for Adobe InDesign) and for creating the .pdf files that you upload). You’re pretty much limited to the standard 8.5″ by 11″ vertical format, and the time constraints may challenge you (7-10 days to receive your proof, then another 7-10 days for your final copy to be delivered). But the end result, printed on high quality H/P digital printers, will look much better than the output at your local copy shop.
Students might consider MagCloud for printed portfolios and campaign books. This process also would facilitate highly targeted fundraising appeals and other micro-print applications.
It’s time to start thinking about printed documents in new ways. This is a user- and web- friendly approach to interactive and digital printing.
MagCloud is a project of H/P Labs, and is currently in Beta.