7 Things to Consider When Choosing Magazine Mailing Services

23 October, 2019


The print format magazine is still an attractive way to get content out to your audience – don’t let the naysayers tell you otherwise.

Research shows that 92% of 18-23-year-olds find it easier to read printed material as opposed to digital. Furthermore, magazines hold a multigenerational appeal.

Magazines read per month by age group:

  • Baby Boomers – 9.2
  • Gen Xers – 9.1
  • Millennials – 8.9

There are many benefits and marketing opportunities to exploit when it comes to print media. Nonetheless, it’s a competitive industry and not without its challenges. Successful magazine publishers are finding it necessary to reassess their strategies and offer higher value to their readers. This means generating more exclusive content and using reliable print and distribution services that create the right look and feel product for their target market.

The Harvard Business Review saw a 10% increase in subscribers at the end of of 2018 by reducing the number of annual issues from 10 to 6 and investing more in the overall production value of the magazine. This enabled them to increase the price in line with its premium quality product positioning and create a more enriching experience for their readers.

Whether you’re looking to launch a publication or re-evaluate your own strategy, there are many things to consider when it comes to magazine printing and distribution:

  • Binding
  • Paper stock
  • Ink type
  • Page sizing
  • Packaging
  • Shipping

And of course, all of these factors are price sensitive.

Magazines are usually published and distributed according to a schedule, making it essential to contract a mailing service that is experienced in performing under pressure (last-minute changes are not uncommon in the press industry) and delivers a consistent, high-quality experience for you and your readers.

If you’re facing the important decision of selecting a mailing service for your publication, we’ve come up with the key areas to evaluate before choosing.


What is the perfect paper for your publication?

When it comes to magazines, the paper is such an essential element to consider. Everything from the size to the stock will affect the magazine’s aesthetic and your overall branding. If you’re using a magazine mailing distributor for end-to-end service, you want to check that they can source your particular choice of paper, and do so at a competitive rate.

Typical paper types for magazines:

Lightweight Coated and Medium Weight Coated Paper:

Both are suitable for a quick print run; however, the medium-weight coated paper will give you a more professional look and allow for full-scale colour magazine production.

Gloss Magazine Paper:

This is the perfect paper to use if images are super important for your publication because the quality of the paper is very reflective, allowing the colour to take centre stage.

Matte Magazine Paper:

This paper has a rougher texture and may flatten the look of your pictures, although it allows for easier readability. This paper is suitable for more text-heavy publications.

You will often hear printers talking about a paper’s grade; this refers to how the paper reflects light.

For magazine printing, these are the grades you want to know:

3 – bright

4 – extra bright

5 – ultra

Remember to ask for samples and test pages to make sure you’re happy with the results.


What are your quantity requirements?

Many print and distribution service providers have a minimum quantity cut off point. That’s usually because it’s not feasible to run machinery and pay human resources for small batches. So if you’re a niche publication that is looking to test the waters, find a partner who can tailor their service for your needs and scale with you as your magazine gains popularity.


Clarify your budget

Printing and distributing your magazine is a significant investment, and you need to be realistic with your budget. Do your research and plan for what you can afford. When you have a list of service providers that you’d like to approach, be straightforward about your budget. Some may be willing to negotiate and come up with the best package for your needs.


Which binding style suits your magazine?

Typically, magazines are bound with the Saddle-stitch method (wire staples hold together the folded sheets) or Perfect Binding method (the pages are stuck together at the spine with strong, flexible glue). It mostly depends on how many pages need to be held together – Perfect Binding being the most suitable method for a high page count.

perfect binding

Perfect binding

saddle stitch

Saddle stitch


Packaging for distribution

In many instances, publishers choose to polywrap their magazines to protect them from exposure during the postage journey. This also prevents any loose promotional leaflets of free gifts from slipping out in transit.

The kind of wrapping required for your magazine will depend on the size and what you’re planning on including in the packaging.

Asendia’s polywrapping service caters for low and high volume jobs. We can wrap bumpy mail and handle non-uniform mailings, too.

Lastly, if your magazine is going directly to subscribers, your mailing service provider will have to label each item individually. Check that they are able to handle subscriber press.


Are you on the same page regarding sustainability?

More and more businesses are incorporating environmentally sustainable initiatives into their practices. The print industry has done a lot to decrease its carbon footprint and take a more responsible approach to production. If ethical sourcing and manufacturing are important to you, check the credentials of your potential partner and make sure that their values align with yours.


Circulation: Global or local?

Do you have subscribers abroad? Or, are you planning to expand overseas? Then you need a publishing distributor who can get your magazines out to your global readers on time. If your local subscribers are getting your January issue in the last week of December, there’s no reason why your international readers shouldn’t get the same treatment.

Asendia ships to over 200 destinations, we understand the time contingent nature of the publishing industry and how important it is to get your magazine in the hands of your subscribers in the perfect, hot-off-the-press condition.

Your magazine will likely contain advertisements and promotions. To keep your sponsors happy, select a magazine mailing service that has experience and a proven track record in the area you are looking to ship to.


Getting your magazine out to the world is every publisher’s dream. To enjoy longevity in the industry, however, you need to align with the right partner who will understand your needs and effectively support you. At Asendia, we don’t just package and ship; we run a comprehensive service that has been honed over years of experience. We are trusted by big brands and start-up publications to deliver a range of services; from newsstand press – helping your publication to get a strong presence at international points of sale – to customs clearance, we’ve got you covered. If you’d like to find out more about our magazine mailing services, just drop us a line.

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