Meet the owner of Islington’s new independent business, MagCulture

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Islington magazine shop MagCulture
Islington's new magazine shop magCulture Photo: Rod Ardehali

What inspired you to open magCulture?

In other European cities there are spectacular magazine shops. If you know where to look in London you can find some great magazines, but I felt there needed to be a dedicated shop with specialist and rarer magazines.

I came to working in publishing through design and what made me really passionate from the beginning was the potential for content inside magazines. The best magazines tend to challenge your ideas of what a magazine can be.

What kind of magazines do you sell?

Most magazines are made by small independent teams as a hobby or on the side to their main jobs. They put a large emphasis on the way the magazines look and feel. Our magazines are better quality than weekly ones because they’re published fortnightly or bi-annually and printed on better paper.

My favourite magazine at the moment is Victory, a large format sports magazine. It’s about the cultural enjoyment of sport. Why did you set up shop here? I spent a long time looking for the right location. In the end I realised it was about the building itself and I found the right one here. It’s a busy street and in a perfect triangle between Old Street, Angel and Farringdon. It was also a pleasant surprise to hear it was next to City University and all the journalism students. We’ve had a variety of people coming to the shop, not just designers but people who live and work locally. Is there money in the magazine business? I think the big issue for magazine publishers  is how do you gauge your audience and make money out of it? There’s no single model. But people are making money and some magazines are competing with mainstream publications.

Why don’t you categorise the magazines?

These magazines take the subject matter as a starting point for a more tangential look at life and culture in general. The content is really good. They’re well put together and worth the money. The investment in time and effort justifies the more expensive price tag.

What are your hopes and ambitions for magCulture?

I want this to be a hub for magazine makers to swing by and drop off magazines, while having a look at some new ones. We also have a monthly event called magCulture Meets where we hear from an editor about the the new issue of their magazine.

magCulture is open Wednesday-Saturdays. 270 St John St, EC1V 4PE

Picture: Arnau Vila Buch

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