Marco Arment Sells "The Magazine" to Its Editor, Glenn Fleishman
Instapaper founder and Tumblr's first employee sells popular electronic magazine
SEATTLE and HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y., May 29, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- The Magazine, a popular electronic magazine, has been sold by founder Marco Arment to Aperiodical LLC, a company owned by Glenn Fleishman, the publication's current editor. Fleishman plans to continue to operate the subscription-only periodical on the same basis: without advertising and produced every two weeks. The sale closes on June 1, 2013, before its 18th issue, due out on June 6.
Each issue of The Magazine features five medium-length original commissioned articles that are a mix of reportage and unique personal narratives of interest to curious people with a technical bent. A single $1.99-per-month subscription includes new issues as well as access to the archives, and every subscriber may read both via a custom app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and through the publication's Web site. Full-issue downloads in ebook standard EPUB and Amazon MOBI format are also available to subscribers. Terms were not disclosed.
The Magazine has included among its more than 80 articles published to date a long-form, heavily researched feature about the domestic use of autonomous aircraft (drones) by Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Eli Sanders; an accounting of the reasons behind Couchsurfing.org's sudden shift from non-profit to for-profit by Stefan Kamph; illustrations by Herblock Prize–winning editorial cartoonists Matt Bors and Tom Tomorrow; and features by writers and essayists who have regularly contributed to the New York Times, Wired, the Economist, Mental Floss, and many other publications.
Arment developed The Magazine from principles of unadorned reading that he conceived of through his work in creating and developing Instapaper, and through his earlier work at a consulting company and as the first employee (and sole employee for some time) of David Karp at Tumblr. (Arment recently sold a majority interest in and operational responsibility for Instapaper to Betaworks, a venture capital firm and incubator that runs Digg and bit.ly. Arment left Tumblr in 2010 to focus on Instapaper; Yahoo recently announced that it will acquire Tumblr for $1.1 billion.)
"People want to download publications quickly and read them without cruft," Arment said. "Publications that started in print carry too much baggage and usually have awful apps. The Magazine was designed from the start to be streamlined, natively digital, and respectful of readers' time and attention."
The Magazine launched in October 2012, and it quickly accrued enough subscriptions to pay Fleishman to take on the role of executive editor, starting with the second issue, and to net a healthy return for Arment. Arment enjoys working on solo projects, and having brought The Magazine to a point at which further expansion of staff is required, agreed to sell the publication to Fleishman. Arment has new efforts already underway about which he is not yet ready to speak. A successful blogger, podcaster, entrepreneur, and programmer, Arment said, "I don't even like being quoted in a press release."
"Marco gave me an incredible amount of freedom in editing The Magazine, and I'm happy to add the role of publisher as it develops further," Fleishman said. Writer and editor Brittany Shoot has been retained as The Magazine's managing editor.
Aperiodical has already contracted several firms to update and extend the Web site's and app's design and programming. Design and interaction company Pacific Helm worked with Arment to design the app, worked on previous iterations of the Web site, and created each of the issue covers. They will continue in those roles.
Guy English and Chris Parrish of Aged & Distilled will handle iOS app development. They recently released the Napkin app for Mac OS X. Jessica Simmons of Simmons Ardell, formerly of sister design firms Milton Glaser Inc and WBMG, has signed on to design an upcoming print collection drawn from both the first 100 articles appearing in The Magazine and newly commissioned work. Dean Putney, one of the main developers behind top blog BoingBoing, will manage improvements on the Web site.
Fleishman plans to add a regular podcast of interviews with authors and their subjects. The podcast will include sponsorships handled by Lex Friedman, of the podcast-advertising network Podlexing. A revision of the Web site will launch June 1, followed in the near future by an update to the iOS app with user-requested features.
APERIODICAL LLC is owned by Glenn Fleishman. He is one of the last people who was trained purely as a typesetter, has a degree in graphic design, and has worked as a freelance journalist for 20 years. In 1993 he founded one of the first Web-development companies, which handled the first broadcast of a feature film over the Internet. Fleishman was an early employee of Amazon.com, where he managed its catalog of books for sale, growing it from 1.1 million to 2.5 million titles from 1996 to 1997. He has written for many publications, including the New York Times, BoingBoing, Wired, and Macworld, where he is a senior contributor. Fleishman has contributed since 2005 to the Economist, where he writes twice weekly for its Babbage blog as "G.F." and authored the recent cover story "All Eyes on the Sharing Economy." He lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.
MARCO ARMENT is an ostensibly carbon-based life form currently residing in Hastings-on-Hudson, declared the Williamsburg of the North by the New York Times, whence he produces podcasts, blog entries, jeremiads, and software. He and his wife have one child and one dog. Neither is for sale.
Glenn Fleishman, Glenn Fleishman, 1-206-552-9274, email@example.com
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