O'Reilly Brings Book Smarts to DIY Tech Magazine

Book publisher O'Reilly Media enters the magazine world with the mid-March debut of Make, a do-it-yourself title dedicated to showing how to make technology work for consumers.

The quarterly, digest-sized magazine starts with a non-guaranteed circulation of 45,000, targeting mostly men 30-50. It is the latest expansion for the 27-year-old producer of books, conferences and Web sites on computer technology.

“We feel it's for people who've been buying technology for the major part of their lives,” said Dale Dougherty, editor and publisher of Make, Sebastopol, CA. “In many ways, view this as analogous to a woodworking magazine or a cooking magazine in that technology is part of our lives. It's like a hobby.”

The magazine, which uses the tagline “Technology on your time,” will sell exclusively online for a month through March 16 at Amazon.com. Copies will sell later on newsstands and bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders. About 15,000 copies will be distributed at technology conferences. The cover price is $14.99, and an annual subscription is $34.95.

Content in the debut issue focuses on plans for aerial photography with kites, how to make a magnetic stripe card reader, reviews of gadgets and articles on backyard monorails, XM radio hacks, iPod tricks and blogging. Of the 192 pages, 181 cover DIY technology.

“I think what we like and encourage in Make is a sort of customization of technology, and that's another way of saying do-it-yourself,” Dougherty said.

Advertisers in the first issue include Yahoo Search, electronics maker Bang & Olufsen, RadioShack, Kodak's Ofoto, Antec and MakingThings.

“Our business model is more oriented to a book publishing circulation model,” Dougherty said. “In the first year we'll keep to 15 ad pages. The first issue has eight advertisers.”

O'Reilly's strategy to keep Make relevant is unique, given its relationship with booksellers. Once a current issue is out, unsold predecessor copies will be moved to other locations in the bookstore. It helps that Make is designed like a book.

“As a book publisher, we've been fortunate with what we need to know to keep the magazine on the shelves for a year or two,” said Dan Woods, associate publisher of Make.

To put the word out, O'Reilly is mailing to lists from Smithsonian magazine, Wired, MIT Technology and another dozen or so publications. Public relations, user groups online and sites like slashdot.org round out the marketing.

Make's editorial twist, along with the differentiating trim size and price, is aimed at helping the magazine rise above the clutter of technology publications. O'Reilly had a different model in mind for Make.

“All the tech magazines today are about platforms, products and productivity, and we felt like, if you look at what Martha Stewart does and others do, it's really about projects [and] things you can do and share with others,” Dougherty said.

Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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