Where traditional publishing is in great trouble, newspapers close (or only survive online) and newsstands, there is a reality that in recent years has gained the attention of a new generation of readers (young, polyglot and cool) and is continuing to grow.
It is indie publishing, a kaleidoscope of independent paper publications (without advertising and not linked to large publishing groups), with great care in the choice of colors, fonts and images and which, between attention to aesthetics and innovative contents , surprisingly deal with travel, food, contemporary art, sport, cinema, design, music or fashion.
They have names such as Foam Magazine, The Plant Luncheon, Mousse, Cereal, Buffalo, Cartoghaphy, Frankeinstein and unusual formats, from minimal to kingsize, cost a lot (from 20 to 40 euros) and they only come out two or three times a year.
"Personally I prefer to call it 'publishing contemporary': each of these magazines is a cross-section of contemporaneity, photographing trends in their initial phase.
And then some newspapers are not so 'hard and pure', they have the contribution of some advertisers, but nothing changes: I, who come from the world of photography, are interested in magazines that focus on the image, who carry out research and experimentation above all visual "explains Francesca Spiller , founder of Reading Room, a small and well-stocked space (with more than 300 titles) opened in 2018 in the Corvetto area (via Mincio 10) and which, once a month, hosts the program ' Periodica obsession ' on Radio raheem (radio host of the Milan Triennale).
"All’estero sono anni che esistono 'librerie indie' (lo storico Do you Read me? di Berlino ha aperto nel 2008), a Milano invece mancava. Così oggi Reading room, anche grazie al passaparola, è diventato il punto di riferimento per professionisti e studenti di discipline creative, dalla moda al design, che cercano spunti e ispirazione".
Ma qual è il motivo del successo di queste testate? Nostalgia per la carta?
"Assolutamente no, il successo dipende dal fatto che non sono legate all’attualità, sono superspecializzate e fanno leva sul bisogno di appartenere a una community e intercettare i trend di ogni settore" spiega la Spiller.
"Un esempio? Qui si trovano riviste da tutto il mondo, soprattutto Europa, Africa, Medio Oriente e Australia, quindi ci si può immergere anche in progetti, come per esempio nella moda africana, che sono esteticamente lontani da noi ma che offrono uno spaccato super interessante".
The surprise, however, is to find out how many Italian ones are, based in Milan, Turin, Verona, Rome and Naples.
"The editorial offices are young, from 25 to 30 years old. In some cases, they were born around the degree thesis, sometimes they remain linked to the University. Others, on the other hand, are real 'editorial offices widespread': with digital printing you don't need to have an office but a network of photographers, graphic designers, journalists all over the world.
And even if indie publishing does not move large editions (there are 5000 copies per issue), magazines sell and, through their readers, manage to affirm a style, so much so that creative studies who use the magazine to tell about a certain aesthetic and then offer companies advice and collaborations".
Finally, in addition to the print version, each of these magazines has its own online version, often only on Instagram, consistent with the aesthetics of the magazine and strictly in English, therefore with a potentially global readership.
"Putting together content and materials for this type of project, with great care even in the choice of paper, takes a very long time. But, not in a hurry to go out every week, we can afford it. This is why indie newspapers escape the logic of 'disposable' and also become precious collector's items ".