The Long Good Newspaper

The Long Good Read is a site that highlights the most popular, most interesting, long form content from the Guardian, twice a day. It’s the meaty, good stuff. The stuff you want to sink into on a Sunday morning, over a cup of coffee.

It was created by Dan Catt at the Guardian. It fetches all of the articles over a certain word count from the Guardian API, and uses data from the Guardian Zeitgeist to pick the best articles for the day. Those are published on the site at 5am every day, and you can subscribe to the RSS feed or stick the articles in something like Instapaper or Readability.

The only problem is that, except perhaps for the Kindle, no-one really enjoys reading on a screen, especially for long-form content like this. And so we helped Dan to produce a prototype of a paper version of a week of The Long Good Read (12th-18th March). And here it is.

The Long Good Read, Weekly Paper

Dan says:

This issue with 14 stories weighs in at 24 pages. It feels like a real thing, you can hold it, fold it, take out wasps and flies in one arcing sweep with it, it’s a thing of wonder.

It’s also different from reading a newspaper, your eyes aren’t skipping round the page as much, scanning articles figuring out which ones to read. Sure, in this case not every article is going to appeal and you can quickly move onto the next one (and the one after etc) until you find something you want to read. But when you do it’s always something decent to get your teeth into.

It feels like something I’d want to subscribe to, a longer title could be “Things Probably Worth Reading as Filtered by Everyone Else, Weekly“. I can see myself reading it on the train (indeed I did) and doodling in the footers, or settling down with my slippers and liquorice pipe in front of the fire with it.

The Long Good Read, Spread

Read more about it over at Dan’s fantastic blog post explaining what worked, what didn’t, and why.

And watch this space: Dan’s having another go next week.

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Filed under: case studies

Pricing news – we’re now VAT-free (mostly)

Having spent a few weeks to-ing and fro-ing with the VAT people we’ve received some good news: most of our orders from now on won’t incur VAT. So on the weekend we put up some new VAT-free pricing.

If you’re handy with a calculator you may notice the headline price isn’t going down uniformly across all our newspapers – there have been some chunky increases in the price of newsprint recently and we’ve decided to move to a heavier weight of paper for a good proportion of our larger orders. We’ve also made the pricing more consistent. But for almost all of you who are not VAT-rated Newspaper Club is now a lot cheaper.

However, note the ‘almost’: we’ll still have to charge VAT on some newspapers. It’s quite a complicated area but the general rule of thumb is that if a newspaper contains a significant amount of written information it’s VAT-free; if it doesn’t – for instance, if it’s entirely full of photos – then we need to charge VAT at the standard 20% rate. In addition, for those papers that we write and/or design (a lot fewer now than formerly) we’ll need to charge VAT.

If you’re in doubt about the status of your newspaper please see what we say about VAT here or get in touch.

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Some Brief Downtime

Just a brief note from the Engineering Dept.

The website will be offline from 2pm GMT on Thursday 17th March (tomorrow), for up to two hours. This is so we can make some behind the scenes changes to the site, including some performance improvements in ARTHR.

We’ll still be contactable by email, at support@newspaperclub.co.uk.

Anyway, as you were.

Update: This has been completed – we’re all up and running as normal.

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Filed under: engineering

Newspaper Club Evening Class

Mr Taylor

If Newspaper Club had an official strapline, it would be something like “helping people to make their own newspapers”. It’s not snappy. It’s not punchy. But it’s true.

One of the main goals of Newspaper Club is to help people get from having a great idea for a newspaper, to having the confidence to hit ‘print’.

We try and provide useful information on the site, and we’ve put a lot of effort into making ARTHR, our online layout tool, into something that lets anyone have a go. We answer hundreds of enquiries a week, helping people with anything from margins to finding a designer to delivery & subscription services.

But sometimes nothing beats meeting people face to face; explaining and answering questions when everyone involved can point at the same piece of paper.

With this in mind, last week, Art and Engineering had an outing to our friends at the School of Everything, just up the road in Bethnal Green, London. We ran an evening class called ‘How to Make Your Own Newspaper‘.

Twelve people attended for a couple of hours. We talked through a brief history of newspaper design, how the printing works, how to use ARTHR, and some design tips and tricks that we think work well on newsprint. And we answered lots and lots of questions, gave out sample papers, and had some jaffa cakes.

Here I am explaining, how the printers work through the medium of overly complex diagrams. Don’t worry, this was brief.

Inside the classroom

As the old cliche goes the teachers learnt as much as the students. It’s always great to meet your customers. We got a clearer understanding of what we’re explaining well and what we’re not, as well as just finding out more about the background of people.

And we had a lot of fun. And not only that, but it was sold out. It sold out very quickly. Which got us thinking. Maybe we should do it again?

If we did, would you be interested?

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Filed under: developments, running a business

more paper science

Mr Matthew Sheret, the hardest working man in data grioting, is equally dedicated to the business of making lovely comics. (Emphasising the word business.) He’s not just an artiste, he’s thinking about how to make this stuff economically viable.

You can see that in this post about Paper Science 4 – there’s a variety of business models and packages going on here, trying to make smallish scale publication work without everyone losing money. We’re delighted to be helping out with printing and distribution.

(Front cover by Luke Pearson)

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AND Journal issue 2 now available

AND Issue 2

Nice to see issue 2 of AND Journal making its way through the presses. AND is a publication set up by Graphic Design students at University College Falmouth to focus on contextualising, design, culture and society. This second issue ruminates on the topic “Thought before form”.

Find out more from the AND website and get a copy here.

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Filed under: case studies, Newspaper Stories

Fictional News and Friendly Service

Service

There’s a lovely post here about someone who’s used Newspaper Club to produce a ‘prop’ paper – a fictional newspaper for an interesting looking film. It’s a good looking paper too. We do quite a lot of these – papers for film and theatrical productions – it’s not the world’s biggest market opportunity but it’s always good to find another niche.

But what’s especially pleasing is to read positive things about our service because, well, that’s almost entirely Anne and I’m sure we don’t say enough nice things about her.

So let’s fix that now.

It’s Anne that keeps us going. Tom lashes the code back together periodically, Ben and I occasionally do talks for people and organisations, Gareth strategically strategises at a very high level, but it’s Anne that makes the whole business actually work. We’re an atoms business, we ship physical stuff to real people and inevitably there are questions and occasionally problems with the supply and shipping of those things. In our early days Ben and I would respond to those emails but it soon became clear that grumpy sarcasm wasn’t an effective customer service model – Anne has replaced it with energetic, helpful niceness.

That’s probably why we now get emails that say things like:

“just a quick email to say a huge THANK YOU. We are really happy with the finished product, and the service you have provided us with has been fantastic. Thanks also for your prompt responses to all of the emails I sent you.”

and

“May I congratulate you and your team on a most professional service. You “do exactly as it says on the tin”!!!—not to be taken for granted indeed. I am very happy with the product.”

That’s good isn’t it? We don’t say thank you to Anne enough. So – Anne – Thank You.

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Filed under: running a business

Derby Stories

Derby Stories by Preston is my Paris

The Preston Bus Station newspaper by Preston is my Paris was one of our favourites from last year. It’s not every day you get such a beautiful publication about something which is generally held to be so unlovely.

Derby Stories by Preston is my Paris

So we were delighted to hear the happy news of a sibling. This time the city of Derby, another Midlands gem, is captured in 12 pages of amazing photographs.

Derby Stories by Preston is my Paris

Published for the Format International Photography Festival, it’s available from locations throughout Derby from 4 March to 3 April and from the Preston is my Paris blog.

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Filed under: Newspaper Stories