The independent magazine industry is a global niche market that thrives in its individuality and internationality. Magazines represent many cultural, economic, political, and social values in its pages. They signal to the historical development of society, one that relied on the commercialisation of information. Since the invention of the mechanical printing press, magazines differentiated from other printed media with its distinct combinations of funding mechanisms, content, and form. The technological changes in communications of the new millennium threaten the magazine industry’s dominant advertising revenue business model as digital platforms compete for their readers’ attention. As such, this thesis evaluates the economic advantages of digitisation, the adoption of digital-ready devices and software, through a sociological qualitative lens in an academically unresearched segment of the industry: independent magazines. The histories from two magazine makers from Amsterdam, Fantastic Man and MacGuffin, and three specialised retailers, NAi Booksellers in Rotterdam, Athenaeum Boekhandel in Amsterdam, and Stack Magazines in London, converge as case study examples of independent magazine publishing in the Netherlands. They all are in the business of selling long-lasting publications that epitomise creative freedom in the careful design of texts and visuals that is printed in unique paper experimentations. The case study confirms that the subjects recognise digitisation’s socio-economic values across their industrial organisation and creation and distribution value chains. Independent magazine editors hold minimal digital ambitions as they are passionate for crafting a magazine as a tangible object for a global niche audience that is scattered around the world. Meanwhile this transnational community of readers is made possible by the e-commerce capabilities of specialised retailers, as such, these are more susceptible to the digitisation of their market operations even if the delivery still depends on postal services and transporting labour. It is in this digital turn that the magazine form has undergone interdisciplinary inquiry to predict its future, this case study concludes that the print form continues to be the dominant core for the independent magazine market in the Netherlands.

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Prof.dr. Ben Wubs, Dr. Valbona Muzaka, Dr. Chris Miller
Global History and International Relations
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Carlos Alberto Zepeda Aguilar. (2022, August 15). Print is not dead: digitisation in the 21st century Dutch independent magazine market. Global History and International Relations. Retrieved from