Discovering custom publishing

Discovering custom publishing: Kay Harvey of the Pioneer Press in Minneapolis has discovered custom publishing and Samir Husni (more on that later) all in one article. Her profile today on a new magazine called figure is filled with head-scratching about its business model.


Like its models, figure’s advertising policies defy the norm. The magazine guarantees plus-size clothing chains Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug and Catherinesthat they’ll be the magazine’s only fashion advertisers. As part of the deal, the three retailers get exclusive editorial fashion content as well. In other words, every fashion story and fashion spread in the magazine features clothes from those three stores. Period.

Other than the publisher’s quotes indicating her cavalier attitude towards disclosing to readers the sponsored nature of the magazine (“This isn’t curing cancer. It’s clothes.”), the publication sounds like a classic custom published, sponsored magazine with a few nuanced twists: It’s sold at point of purchase (see A&F Quarterly) and has three, rather than one, sponsors (see any advertorial ever produced. Later: I’ve been informed by an [the?] alert rexblog reader that the three stores are, in fact, owned by the same company.).

Despite the reporters shock at her discovery of something that’s been around for over 100 years, the article is interesting and noteworthy for a couple of great Samir Husni quotes and a classic typo of his name.

First, a quote:

“We live in a sponsored age. It’s a fact of life,” says Samir Husni, a University of Mississippi journalism professor also known as “Mr. Magazine.”

(Don’t you expect the next thing he said was, “Get over it.” The reporter didn’t use that part, if he did.)

Later in the story (and I hope it stays even after I point it out), there is a classic typo in the context of a Samir quote:

“We’re definitely heading in that direction,” says Husir, the magazine guru. He attributes a potential shift partly to tough economic times for launching a new magazine.

HUSIR? Shouldn’t the contraction of Samir’s name be Samni, rather than Husir?

2 thoughts on “Discovering custom publishing

  1. >It’s sold at point of purchase (see A&F Quarterly) and has three, rather than one, sponsors (see any advertorial ever produced)

    Well, really, it has only one sponsor: Charming Shoppes, Inc. (Nasdaq: CHRS), which operates 2,242 stores in 48 states under the names LANE BRYANT(R), FASHION BUG(R), FASHION BUG PLUS(R), and CATHERINE’S PLUS SIZES(R).

  2. Bill, while this thought crossed my mind, I do not have the reporter’s dogged determination and investigatory skills that you display daily. My hat’s off to you, man.

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