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Meet Stack: A Company That Curates and Delivers Indie Culture Mags To Your Door

© Stack
© Stack
UK-based start-up Stack is doing its part to keep print alive by innovating the distribution process for independent print journals and magazines. It delivers a different periodical to its subscribers each month, part of a curated selection which has so far included such eclectic titles as feminist culture magazine Ladybeard, adventure travel magazine Sidetracked, and Australian literary magazine The Lifted Brow. Now Stack is making moves to expand into the US, and will be hosting a series of events this weekend (Oct. 18 – 20th) in NYC that involve beloved US foodie mag Lucky Peach and caffeine-themed travel magazine Drift, among others. Founder Steven Watson was kind enough to answer a few questions about Stack.
Volume Six Courtesy of Sidetracked Magazine

When did the idea for Stack come about?
I started Stack in 2008, as a side project while working as an editor of in-flight magazines. After a slightly terrifying leap, I went 100% Stack two years ago.

Who were some of your earliest clients?

The very first magazine we sent out was a music title called Shook (sadly long since dead), and our subscribers were mostly London based. Now, we have subscribers in South Korea, Chile, Romania, New Zealand, Seychelles…and here are a selection of the magazines we’ve sent out recently.

How does Stack differ from other magazine distributors?

The surprise element — subscribers don’t know which magazine will arrive at their doorstep each month. All they know is that it will be a beautiful, intelligent magazine they probably wouldn’t otherwise have come across.

People are always bemoaning the death of print, but what kinds of things are print magazines doing to stay innovative and relevant to you?

The Mind Issue Courtesy of Ladybeard Magazine

Print is brilliant at providing a single focused experience – you could be laying on the sofa or sitting on the bus, but when you’re reading a print magazine, you’re not doing anything else. There are no notifications popping up, and there’s no pressure to share or comment or respond to what you’re reading, which means you can properly engage with the pages in your own time, rather than skimming through them as quickly as possible.

You’re based in the UK, but are starting to make some headway into the American market. What is the difference, in your opinion, between US and UK magazine culture?

I think there are probably more similarities than differences – in both countries the mainstream is dominant and small independents struggle to reach readers. In the US, though, there are more of the bigger independents – magazines like Lucky Peach or Cherry Bombe, which have managed to cross over and gain widespread attention while still retaining the energy and excitement that make them really special. Both those magazines will be appearing on our panel on Thursday night, and I’m really looking forward to hearing how they’ve managed to do that.

Stack events:

Independent magazines of New York
18 October | School of Visual Arts
Featuring:
Ben Yarling editor of American Chordata
Christopher Isenberg editor of Victory Journal
Sarah Keough editor of Put A Egg On It and co-founder of the Little Magazine Coalition

Drift magazine in conversation
19 October | Small City, Gowanus
Watson will be speaking to the senior masthead of the caffeine-themed travel magazine Drift to discuss its history and its growing success, and its new sister publication, Ambrosia.

Food magazines of New York
20 October | Small City, Gowanus
Featuring:
Claudia Wu creative director of Cherry Bombe
Fiorella Valdesolo editor of Gather Journal
Michele Outland creative director of Gather Journal
Walter Green art director of Lucky Peach