The New Lonny Magazine

 

Cover of first issue

Cover of first issue

Magazines have hit a rough patch. I think everyone agrees with that. After Conde Nast just closed four magazines, right now seems like the worst time to launch a new magazine, right? But the people behind the new Lonny Magazine seem up for the challenge.

Lonny launched its premiere issue this month. Its mission: “Reopen the doors of accessible design.” Many are calling it the new Domino. But Domino printed its final issue last March. What makes the people at Lonny think the magazine is safe from suffering the same fate?

No doubt it’s the unique format. Lonny works with an online-only platform. To read the magazine, you have to sit down at the computer. Here are some reasons why Lonny could be successful.

Money in Your Pocket

It’s free. At least the first issue anyway. I’m not sure about the rest. All you have to do is go to http://www.lonnymag.com, and you’re ready to start flipping through the pages.

Click It

If you find a lamp, couch, pillow, or other product you like, all you have to do is click. The magazine features direct links to companies who advertise in the magazine, as well as companies whose products are used in the magazine.

No Limits

Because Lonny is online, there are no page limits. The first issue was 195 pages! That’s practically unheard of for shelter magazines these days.

These are all reasons to love Lonny, but I don’t think it’s in the clear just yet. The 195 pages are great, but it’s not much fun to read the articles on a bright computer screen. Also, the photographs in Lonny are gorgeous. If you’re a decorating nut like me, you’ll hate the fact you can’t tear out pages for inspiration.

What do you guys think of Lonny’s online format? Will it be successful, or was it crazy to launch a new magazine during these tough times, especially a shelter magazine?

Become a fan of Lonny on Facebook.

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17 responses to “The New Lonny Magazine

  1. I looked at the website, and I think this magazine is a great idea. It seems to be a nice compromise between the things we love about print with the advantages of the web.

    I think if they keep the pilot issue free and charge for subsequent issues, they can build a pretty successful readership. If they could charge less then magazines of this type charge for a print edition, I think they could really get the thrifty magazine demographic on-board.

    The feature that allows you to click on a product and links you to a website to purchase it is both an advertiser’s and consumer’s dream. It makes buying easy, which benefits both parties. It’s convergence at its finest.

    While I find 195 pages to be a bit overwhelming, I think Lonny can pull it off because it’s online and, thus, readers don’t have to worry about carting around a bulky magazine until they get through it. They can simply pull it up on their laptop whenever they have a spare moment.

    I think Lonny is on the right track in embracing the online medium in a way that is familiar to readers. My prediction is that it can be successful, even in these challenging times for media. It’s just like the experimentation we read about in Shirky’s essay. Now’s the time to try something new, and Lonny has certainly stepped up to the plate.

    • I totally agree! At first I was confused how Lonny expected to make money since they don’t charge for content. However, I got to thinking, and I wonder how much it really costs them to produce the magazine itself. Everything is done on the computer, so I bet they have virtually no publishing costs. Also, I wonder if advertisers are willing to pay more because they include the direct links.

  2. I’m not sure how I feel about this online format. It’s a great idea in theory, but nothing can beat feeling those glossy pages between your fingers. The format works for photos — not so much for text. When I zoomed in the page went flying everywhere and it was too frustrating to focus. Trying to read it zoomed out made my eyes hurt.

    So I’m not sure how well the magazine will do. Paying for something as intangible as an online magazine (although some would argue that online formats are tangible) seems out of reach for me. But with unlimited room for advertising, does it matter if people would pay for the magazine?

    • I agree with you about the stories. To be honest, I never read them. It was way to hard to stare at the screen for that long. Also, I agree that it can be difficult to use. That zoom thing annoyed me too. Anywhere you move the mouse, the page goes too. I love the pictures! That’s why I wish it was in print. The magazine is so pretty, I want to be able to flip through the pages over and over again.

  3. I agree that the magazine could be successful, because of the listed reasons, especially its free price tag. However, Ari raises the biggest point for me in the fact that Lonny magazine is not quite tangible.

    This brings me back to the question about the fate of magazines. What is going to happen? Right now it’s a fight between technology and the tried-and-true, and I hope that there will be happy medium. Nothing can beat relaxing with a magazine. Magazines don’t overheat your lap, die when you get to the best part, or make your contacts get dry from not blinking. You can cut them up for collages, bookmark pages physically, and carry them in your purse. Though I hope to take part in the online revolution of journalism, and already am with my twitter and blog (http://alyssegear.wordpress.com), I hope to see magazines around in print for a long, long time.

    However, kudos to Lonny mag for using trends to their advantage.

  4. How are they going to make money off of this? I feel like Lonny is really an exciting magazine, and I’m glad it stepped in to “replace Domino,” but I am concerned about how it will financially stay afloat. Additionally, props to them for so many pages in their first issue, but will readers really click on for that long to go through all of the content? Nice work with the subheads and links by the way. Although my Lonny page is taking a while to load… do most people have quick Internet now? Mine’s fast, but at the rate the Lonny page is loading I have my doubts on how well this online-only platform is going to work out.

  5. Intriguing idea. Interesting that this magazine apparently grew out of the EIC’s blog. But wow — tough to navigate. Lots of zooming and scrolling and dragging.

    If I’m going to read a magazine online, I want a different experience from print. Why isn’t everything clickable? I should be able to click from the TOC to the article later in the magazine. Or click on a writer’s byline to read his bio or contact info.

    Also, the page numbers in the TOC don’t align with the navigation page numbers. If I type in page 103 in the navigation bar to read the Carolina Irving article, it actually takes me to page 102, the last page of the preceding article.

    Why don’t the “Share” button or search function work? What’s the difference between the magazine, presentation and paper views? And how do I make that annoying Facebook promo go away?

    I quickly grew impatient with its lack of intuitiveness. Lonny needs to make it easier for its readers to join in on this experiment. But kudos to them for trying.

    I also noticed there aren’t very many ads. Are they instead getting a cut of the revenue from purchases driven by links to products?

    P.S. Why is it named Lonny?

    • “If I’m going to read a magazine online, I want a different experience from print.”

      I agree. Lonny just doesn’t cut it for me. The only truly innovative online magazine I’ve seen is idiomag.com. It’s an online music mag that lets you import your music profile so your content is as personalized as possible. It has the page-turning magazine feel that Lonny tries to get, but it features digital content (videos, slideshows) in the pages, and a nav bar on the bottom. It’s also pretty social and lets you share articles and content.

      I think this is how we need ramp up the online magazine–make something totally different and redefine the way we interact with our content.

      • Oh wow. I hadn’t heard of idiomag.com. So much for catching up on my grading. I’m off to check it out…

  6. I think Lonny is a combo of London and New York. I don’t know why they decided to do that though. Also, I agree that it’s hard to navigate through. I had the same questions about the different layouts. When you click on them, nothing seems to change. Also, I think you have some really great ideas about how to make this user friendly. I would love to be able to click a link in the TOC that sends me directly to the story. Clicking through all of those 195 pages gets kind of boring. To bad they don’t have a suggestion box. These things would be going in for sure.

  7. For all of you who have been wondering how Lonny makes its money, I’m right there with you. I have been searching, and for the life of me, I can’t find any information. Maybe Lonny needs its own website to answer these sorts of questions. The only info I can find is from other blogs. The only Websites Lonny has are Facebook and the magazine. I think these are all questions readers are curious about. Lonny needs to figure out a way to address them.

  8. As more and more publications race to the web, there are a lot of unanswered questions about the internet as an effective medium for the survival of print.

    Of course, the million dollar question is, “how can we make money doing this?” But another important question for these fledgling online-only publications is a simple one: why?

    Why start yet another interior design magazine, particularly right now? What new audience could you possibly win over or convert from the other umpteen million interior design publications out there? Now more than ever, entrepreneurs in the magazine industry have to have one hell of a niche market in mind if they’re going to throw themselves into a new publication.

    • I think Lonny is actually going to win over a lot of readers. It may not be a new audience, but I believe it is going to fill the hole that Domino left behind when it folded. Domino had some really dedicated followers. Lonny is offering similar content, and even has a similar style.

    • I agree with Lucas, my first question was also Why?

      It’s a nice idea, I suppose, but I don’t think the niche is small enough or the product developed enough to succeed right now. A fairly generalized design magazine doesn’t seem practical at all right now. In hard economic times, for people AND for journalism, why would now be the time to launch 195 pages for people looking for leopard-print armchairs?

      All that being said, watch this publication flourish ridiculously and make me eat my words.

  9. I think Lonny is a good idea in theory, but not so much in this economic state of affairs. I agree with Lucas: why is it necessary to launch another publication right now? How are they making money, other than minimal advertisements on the right sides of pages? How long will Lonny last, and why in God’s name is it 195 pages?? I could almost guarantee, due to Google’s efficient weeding-out process, no one is even reading or finding those last 185 pages.

  10. I agree with Martha. I clicked on the link, out of curiosity, and was immediately turned off that Lonny attempted to bring a completely print experience online, and well, failed a little. In theory, yes–it is a great idea. But for people like me, who love flipping through magazines and feeling the glossy pages at their fingertips (NOT clicking a button and waiting for pages to load), this new format isn’t really going to cut it for me. I only made it to page 5 before I gave up. I don’t think that was their goal.

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