Independent “finer things” online magazine Luxurious has taken the print plunge, leading with an unusual circulation model.
The first issue went to press two weeks ago, with an initial print run of "thousands".
The printed magazine is quarterly and free to read but is only distributed at “places of luxury”, mainly hotels but also at Coutts bank, where setting up an account requires the client to have more than £1m of assets. All revenue is obtained from advertising, with launch advertisers including Rolls Royce and Cunard.
The title can also be found at The Goring hotel, Champneys Spas across the UK and the Schönbrunn Palace hotel in Vienna, which costs around £5,000 per night for a single room.
The 160pp magazine was printed by London-based Premier Print Group.
It was printed on Premier's four-colour Speedmaster SX 74, folded on a Stahlfolder T66 and perfect bound on a Horizon BQ-470.
The paper used was 115gsm silk for the text pages and 300gsm silk for the cover with a soft-touch laminate.
Luxurious editor Jon McKnight said: “We’ve been online for five years and have a massive audience, so we publish a lot, have a big following around the world and decided to have a printed issue as well.”
Luxurious has now had almost a billion views on Google Plus and is averaging around 300,000 unique views per month on its website. Its owner Paul Godbold took the decision to launch a printed edition when he spotted the opportunity to distribute the magazine only to high-end establishments.
“We hope it can make a big difference on revenues. We started gently but have high hopes of it being here to stay and the response we are getting is phenomenal, we've had lots of enquiries from exclusive places that want to stock our magazine,” added McKnight.
“I chose Premier because they have done hundreds or possibly even thousands of very good magazines for other clients before and that gave me confidence. I am from the old school of print and learned to handset type with a composing stick when I was in school, and I have to say Premier did a really good job on it; they even filmed the magazine coming off the presses for me.”
Premier Print director Darren Goodson said: "The magazine went well, it was their first issue so obviously they required a lot of consultation whilst they decided what paper to use. So a lot of pre-planning went on, we sent them samples so they could see different types of paper and we guided them into choosing the exact specification they wanted."
McKnight designs and edits the magazine and manages a network of freelance contributors from his home in Plymouth.
Highlights from its inaugural print version include an interview with Raymond Blanc, a first-person feature profiling a road-test of an Aston Martin and a 4,000-word feature on Globetrotter suitcases.
McKnight added: “I went this year to the Monaco Symposium on Luxury with all the big brands. There was a lot of talk there about social media, with big brands putting all their faith and budget into digital engagement.
“I respectfully disagree with this point of view and think our readers are going to be very wealthy people who are asset-rich and time-poor. When they read our magazine they are going to be relaxing somewhere and are going to be happy that there is actually something to read in it.
"There is something special about printed magazines that no iPad will ever replace; the weight of the magazine in your hands, the feel of the paper, the rustle of the pages turning, and the smell that readers love."