Indie magazines set to take off

Oct 30, 2015, 08:40 IST | Dipanjan Sinha

Paper Planes, a Mumbai-based online indie magazine collective, offers subscribers a wide selection of insightful titles from across the globe. Is space opening up on the bookshelf for the discerning reader?

  There is now a reader in India who demands fine crisp writing, deep reportage, original thoughtful covers and more. Finely produced magazines — like the Berlin Quarterly (Berlin-based literature magazine) or Guernica (US-based magazine) — from different countries have now entered the shelves of readers and Indian titles likes Indian Quarterly and Motherland are gaining popularity. But when it comes to getting copies of international titles in India, there isn’t much choice yet.

The magazines do not only have offbeat and well-crafted content, each cover offers a unique and intelligent insight
The magazines do not only have offbeat and well-crafted content, each cover offers a unique and intelligent insight

This is where Mumbai-based Nupur Joshi-Thanks, a corporate lawyer, entered the scene last November. She started Paper Planes, a collective to get copies of independent magazines from all over the world, to the Indian subscriber. “Unfortunately, most international independent magazines are not available in India. Also, I knew, from experience, that procuring them is not easy. In most cases, you end up getting only back issues from UK/Australia and the cost of shipping is prohibitively high. I knew I had to find another way to share these magazines with like-minded people in India and hence, landed the idea of setting up an independent magazine subscription service,” she shares.

Flaneur is published  from Berlin, and covers travel
Flaneur is published from Berlin, and covers travel

Pocket punch
The Paper Planes subscriber receives one new international magazine (hard copy) every month according to his selected genre. Currently, there are three subscription plans — rolling monthly, 9 month and 18 month. The cost of a rolling monthly subscription is Rs 1,000 a month. The sust ained subscription plans — the 9 and 18 month subscription plans — are available at Rs 8,500 and Rs 17,000 respectively.

Little White Lies is a magazine on cinema published  from London
Little White Lies is a magazine on cinema published from London

Though the cost is still high when compared with magazines you typically come across, Joshi-Thanks, who realised her passion for these niche reads during a sabbatical, is convinced that the reader would get the value of these magazines as collectibles.

“These indie magazines are put together with a lot of passion which is evident from the content, and they have a distinct visual identity and feel. Unlike kitchen sink magazines, that one buys only to throw away later, these are collectibles in their own right and will, I feel, be valuable additions to people’s shelves.”

A display of international independent magazines
A display of international independent magazines

What to expect?
Though one cannot browse these magazines online before buying, once the chosen title for the month has been received by the readers, they put a detailed profile of the title on the website for people to view the kind of magazines they send out.

Gather is a journal on food that is published from New York
Gather is a journal on food that is published from New York

“We also have some back issues of the magazines that we have previously shared with our subscribers available for purchase on our website, so people can buy single copies of past issues and see for themselves the quality of the magazines we send out and expect the same calibre of magazine to be delivered to them on monthly basis. We also blog regularly about what is new in the indie publishing world, including here in India, so our readers know what is blooming on the indie shores,” she shares. They also participate in events where people can see the magazines and buy some; like Lil Flea that starts today at Bandra Kurla Complex.

Nupur Joshi-Thanks of Paper Planes
Nupur Joshi-Thanks of Paper Planes

Who buys them?
“Our subscriber base is slowly but steadily increasing and is full of enthusiastic readers from different walks of life. From musicians, writers/journalists to fund managers/CEOs of investment banks. We are thrilled to see this mix and believe this is an indicator that we are on the right track,” shares Joshi-Thanks.

So far, they have introduced 22 new magazine titles from across the world (Beirut, Berlin, London, New York City among others). Some like the Berlin Quarterly, The Gather Journal (a food magazine based out of Brooklyn) and most recently, Avaunt (a UK-based adventure title) were very well received.

Indian titles are also available on their web store for sale and subscription. “Motherland (culture magazine), Kyoorius (visual culture magazine) and Lovebird’s Showroom (poster art magazine) were sought after,” she says.

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Where to get your Indie fix?

>> Kitab Khana at Flora Fountain, Fort (call: 61702276) and Kulture Shop in Bandra (call: 26550982) stock Indian independent magazines like Indian Quarterly and Motherland.

>> Websites to buy and subscribe to Indian magazines

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