W magazine long ago stopped being a monthly magazine. Now it’s recasting itself as a collectible luxury product.
“If we believe in magazines, we have to change and adapt to the new world. In the new world, magazines have to be a beautiful product that you want to collect. If we call a magazine a luxury product, it should look like a luxury product,” editor in chief Stefano Tonchi explained.
As it decreases its print frequency from 11 issues in 2017 to eight newly christened “volumes” in 2018, the magazine will increase its newsstand price to $9.99 an issue from $7.99. These volumes, which will be tied to tent pole events and seasons rather than months, will all be billed as special issues with the hope that readers and advertisers will treat it as such.
“I am a big believer in print getting printier,” said Chris Mitchell, recently named chief business officer of the Condé Nast Culture Collection. And, according to Mitchell, the early reaction from luxury advertisers has been positive.
“We have to change. I mean, let’s face it, magazines have not changed,” Tonchi said. “We still produce magazines on a monthly frequency and that doesn’t make sense anymore. We still try to sell them in newsstands that are not there anymore. We still use the worst possible cheaper paper, so it’s less expensive to ship.”
Changes include higher quality paper stock and typographical updates, as well as editorial changes like doing away with the front of the book staples such as party pictures and silhouetted product shots in favor of what Tonchi labeled timeless stories, designed to make the magazine feel more like a book than a disposable product.
A “best performances portfolio,” released as a broadsheet, will be published during the first week of January to coincide with the Golden Globes, and will also be available as part of Volume 1, which will be released on Feb. 6 and will focus on fashion and cinema. The second volume, which will come out in March and feature creative collaborators Greta Gerwig, Jordan Peele and Luca Guadagnino, will coincide with the release of a limited-edition collectible box, designed to store the collectible issues.
“It’s a way to tell people you should collect this, and this is more than a magazine. It’s a statement,” Tonchi explained, of the box.
“It all kind of dovetails together. Stefano gets to play, if you will, with these beautiful, more creative, more artistic themes and collaborations,” Mitchell continued. “For readers young and old, even for Millennials, this becomes a luxury purchase, an object.”