One of the things we’ve always been careful to say about Newspaper Club is ‘it won’t be as good as you’re imagining’. It’s easy to think of all sorts of great things you can do with newspapers, it’s a lot harder to actually do them, so lots of them, we won’t be doing.
Here are a couple of the specific disappointments we’re going to offer for the beta launch in a few weeks.
When we start the only product you’ll be able to get will be a twelve-page newspaper. We’ve been assuming all the way through the process, up to Friday, that it would be 16 pages, but now we’ve decided to knock four off.
Firstly, it keeps costs down – adding extra pages is what makes printing expensive. But secondly, and most importantly, 16 pages requires a lot of content, a lot. And we think it’s going to be hard for people to do that much.
This is something we’re thinking about a lot. Making a newspaper is hard, it takes work, effort. It won’t be a quick burst of fun, creative decisions like making your Moo cards. It’ll mean assembling lots of content, deciding where to put it, lining it all up, working out where to get it delivered, lots of stuff. It won’t be something people’ll do just casually. You’re going to have to want to make a newspaper. We don’t think is a bad thing, we think lots of people will want to make one, and we’re going to make it as easy as we can. But one way to do that is to give people less blank pages to fill up. So – for launch – 12 pages.
The second big disappointment we’re announcing is that, for launch, we’ll only be able to print in the UK. This is simple logisitics. We only want to work with printers we’ve actually met, who we have good relationships with and we want to make sure that shipping etc works well and costs a reasonable amount. We don’t have time to be visiting and negotiating with printers elsewhere. Not yet anyway.
Hopefully, once we’re up and running, we’ll be able to add other printers and other countries pretty quickly. But, at the beginning, it’ll just be UK. Sorry.
So, keep lowering those expectations, and soon we’ll explain why all the design decisions we’ve made suck too.