The Atlantic's Jay Lauf on Why Brave Thinkers Are Pioneering Print-On-Demand
"It is how we define, editorially, what we do—and have done for more than 150 years," says Jay Lauf, publisher of The Atlantic. This year that creed was embodied by a November issue spotlighting today's bravest thinkers in business and technology, politics, science and health, culture, and business and economics. However, that issue was accompanied by a custom collection of the bravest articles from the magazine's history, available exclusively throughHP's MagCloud print-on-demand (POD) service.
The Atlantic was founded a century and a half ago by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes and several of the time's other great minds. It was meant to be a forum for progressive thinking in a day when the country was still finding itself. Since then, the magazine may have printed more groundbreaking and iconic thought than any other American publication, from arguing for women's literacy in 1859 to espousing information theories in 1945 that would eventually become the Internet.
The Atlantic Brave Thinkers: A Retrospective special edition packages six of those iconic articles in one 60-page special edition that customers can order from MagCloud for $6.00 plus shipping. Below, Lauf explains why they chose POD for this edition, which may turn out to be an iconic experiment in its own right.
INBOX: What's the idea behind the brave thinkers issue? What makes that interesting now?
JAY LAUF: Our editors decided to dedicate an issue [of The Atlantic monthly print magazine] to highlighting people who have exhibited brave thinking in their fields over the past year. The custom edition with MagCloud expands on that idea to provide our readers with additional material from our rich archives and to experiment with innovative new technologies as a way of delivering that content.
What makes this interesting now is that the volume celebrates brave thinking through examples that span nearly a hundred years of American history on topics that have sculpted our nation—such as war, education, technology and race. These issues have not diminished in importance over the years; arguably they’re more central to American thought right now than they have been in quite a while, which makes this volume particularly timely.