Independent magazines, are they worth the hype?

Indie magazines, short for independent magazines, have been the driving force of independent publishing. They have been steadily defying the challenges brought on by the digital world in an era where traditional print has never been more unstable, and even the leading magazine and newspaper publishers are struggling to keep readers from moving online. 

Indie magazines are, by definition, published without the financial support of big companies and corporations. They chose not to rely on advertising to drive revenue, preserving the integrity of their print product. This is also why it is hard to find an independent magazine for less than a tenner, whilst a 12-issue subscription to Vogue UK costs less than £20. So, what makes indies stand out of the bunch and are they worth the few extra quid?

One of their strengths is that they are non-commercial. Compared to most major lifestyle and fashion magazines, who rely on print adverts to stay afloat, often dedicating more than half of each issue to branded content, an indie magazine is dedicated solely on its original and creative content. Indie magazines are reliant on copy sales, so they prioritise consistent quality visual and written content in each issue, to ensure readers will keep on coming back. 

Indies strive to push away from the trend-focused mass-market publications that dictate what people should be doing and buying, and instead focus on establishing a small, but dedicated readership. This is what Wired founder Kevin Kelly calls ‘a thousand true fans’. For that reason, indie magazines cater to niche audiences and often deal with specific topics –creating communities out of their readers. 

To establish an audience is one of the biggest challenges for indie publishers, but with the help of social media, it has never been easier to connect relatable communities within an ever-expanding online world. Independent magazines multitask to stay alive – they use print medium to drive artistic expression and create deeper content, and online avenues to connect with readers and collaborators. 

But the question remains…  are they worth it?


With the myriad of titles out there, it doesn’t take long to find one that speaks right to you . Whether you are interested in art and travel (Cereal), knitting (Knit Wit), or parenting and family-related subjects (Alphabet Family JournalKinfolk), there is a community out there you can join, and a magazine that would bring you and like-minded people together. Whilst some independent magazines have grown to become mainstream, most publish in low print-runs and are biannual or quarterly publications, so chipping in for that magazine you know you’d love, ever so often, is a treat well worth it.