Create a custom print magazine for free, paid for with targeted ads

American Express Publishing and Time Magazine just rolled out a new experiment. They’re trying to find out if free customized magazines are a viable model. In their new program you can create a custom print or web-based magazine for free — made up from content from five magazines of your choosing. Pick from Time, Sports Illustrated, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Money, InStyle, Golf, or Travel+Leisure. It’s free to you because it’s paid for with highly targeted advertising. Now that’s pretty neat.

Everyone knows the magazine publishing industry is changing. But I have to say, I would have never thought it would be changing in this way. The experiment is called “Mine.” Readers log onto, choose five magazines they like, answer a few fun questions and then create a free print or web-based 36-page version of a custom-built magazine. I just got done ordering a combination of Time, Real Simple, Food+Wine, Money and InStyle. I only wish there were more choices.

This first venture is being paid for with advertising by Lexus. Will this work? I’m betting it probably won’t — but only because magazines will do a poor job of telling people about this.Things won’t really change until they pay attention to my five simple fixes for the magazine industry. But at least this is a step in the right direction.

One Comment

  1. Jamie
    March 24, 2009

    I have to give it to them for attempting to “change with the times”. I also never anticipated their next step to be something like this, but it makes sense. With all the people walking around with devices in their pocket that can help them to read blogs and get on websites on the go, magazines and print materials are becoming more and more at risk of not being as popular as they used to be. This is especially true when things like RSS feeds and Twitter help you to keep up with the types of news and articles that you are interested and only that. It looks as if they are trying to take this same mentality and apply it to print materials, a very interesting move! I am anxious to see how this goes, and also wish they would promote it more as you said!