May 2010 | Jonathan Shipley

How Do You Save Newspapers?


Print your own. Time Magazine highlights London's Newspaper Club.

How does it work? From the piece...

In an era when traditional newspapers are hemorrhaging readers and staff as their revenues head south, the year-old Newspaper Club is proving there's still untapped demand for the medium -- just not in the traditional sense. The kinds of papers Newspaper Club's clientele tend to print include bloggers' fanzines, literary works, school journalism projects and wedding-day keepsakes. The company also has a growing list of corporate clients, including the BBC, Wired's U.K. edition and smoothie-maker Innocent Drinks. Newspaper Club isn't about the news or the content, explains co-founder Russell Davis, "it's about ink on paper." 

Here's how it works: Gather the words, pictures and graphics you want to see in print. Then design your 12-page (minimum) tabloid-size paper -- either by using Newspaper Club's on-site layout tool and your own software and sending the result to the site as a PDF, or by letting the site's in-house designers do the job for you. Newspaper Club then arranges for a printer to handle your press run and ships the finished work to your door. "It's like hitting the print button [on a computer] in bulk," says Ben Hammersley, editor at large for Wired's U.K. edition, which used Newspaper Club to print 500 copies of a compendium of highlights from several issues of the magazine and then gave them away at two events it sponsored.

The Newspaper Club's formula is based on a dirty little secret in the newspaper business: the giant presses that pump out daily papers by the millions every morning or afternoon sit idle for most of the rest of the day. To fill their downtime, printing plants do small press runs at surprisingly affordable prices.

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