After his fairly traditional magazine was taken from him and run into the ground, Web-savvy photographer Derek Powazek found a tighter niche: Instant photo magazines tied to major events, like his nifty publication on an Australian dust storm.
A Hewlett Packard service called MagCloud lets you create and print a magazine online over the internet for about 20 cents per page. Powazek, Time magazine reports, made innovative use of the service, publishing a photo magazine about the storm within 48 hours of the event. Powazek drew on the work of about 70 Flickr photographers from whom he obtained permission via email. Despite a price north of $7 with shipping, Powzek has not turned a profit, but people clearly get a kick out of his product; one Australian even put in a special bulk order to redistribute back home (MagCloud doesn't ship there).
Issues commemorating the election and inauguration of Barack Obama and the death of Michael Jackson have likewise been rare bright spots for print publications. But it remains tough to make money from one-off print runs. If only there were some sort of large, internet enabled device with a display large and high-resolution enough to get people to buy these sorts of albums over the internet.