Meet mook, half book half magazine

Mook is a kind of new medium between magazines and books, sometimes called “magabook”, “Bookzine”. It was first used in 1971, at a convention of the Fédération Internationale de la Presse Périodique. But popular in
Asian.

I felt ridiculous when I first heard this concept, because the purpose of paper media is more often to spread and carry information. If the content is more similar to a magazine, it means it has a certain timeliness. When it takes more time and money to print and design, it is more competitive than ordinary magazines. If the quality and life cycle of the finished product are similar to the book, it means that it is conducive to preservation. But if the text content can’t go through the test of time, someone really wants to spend a relatively large amount of money to buy something that is larger than the content. 

This form is particularly popular in Asian, especially Japan. In this way, I did some research on Japanese publishing. Mook uses the magazine-code system for content editing, but the finished product will last longer on the shelf than the regular magazine, making it more similar to books in terms of life cycle, printing and quality. Unlike books, mook prints larger, enabling greater economies of scale. Furthermore, publishers can advertise in mook to increase profits. Sometimes publishers believe that through the editing, design and production outsourcing of mook, it is possible to integrate costs for greater benefit. It can be seen that mook has more freedom in terms of sales date, sales quantity and printing price than magazines, and publishers do not need to care about the deadline for sales.

Since the end of the 20th century, various Japanese publishers published history books in the form of mook, which made the sales of mook a huge leap. But in recent years, people have a new understanding of mook and added new elements.

“Brand Mook” was founded in 2005 by several Japanese fashion designers to promote their fashion.  After the establishment of “Brand Mook”, these designers turned it into a paper medium that no longer sold textual content, but also offered a limited small fee, such as a limited canvas bag with a brand name. The low cost of these items can appeal to many customers. This type of logo printing and a limited number of low-cost tote bags are more convenient and stylish than the luxury of the same brand. Such sales models are now being used and developed by various publishers. Another example is Brand, many people think it is a high-end magazine on a special topic discussion about graphic design. But its design philosophy and sales model are more similar to mook. Its price is higher than the average magazine, but it’s paper selection, print quality and layout design bring readers a good reading experience. In addition, its content is not limited by time, so that it has the continuity of books to a certain extent. In addition, it will also add different interactive elements based on different topics in each issue – such as stickers, masks, posters and other peripherals to attract customers to buy.

To some extent, mook is blurring the boundaries between magazines and books. This may be a way for publishers to find traditional paper media under the pressure of responding to the impact of digital media and the changing pace of life in modern society.

Written by Yulu Fan.