What is Breath?
Breath is a new print magazine that plumbs the depths of the scriptures with panache, all to open the yes of its readers to the realities of their redemption in Christ. At once a means of cherished possession to line your bookshelves for years to come and a means of sharing the Gospel with others, Breath's showcasing of God working in Christ is sure to inspire the faith of all who open its pages.
You could say that the printed image represents a sense of emotional closure which the fleeting, diverting digital medium cannot deliver the same way.—Matthias Harsch, CEO of Leica Camera
Breath is a print magazine, and its contents are not reprinted online. We've chosen this path to provide our readers the emotional connection and closure that Matthias Harsch describes about printed photographs. Digital just doesn't deliver the same experience that printed materials do.
While the words make their impact through argument and narrative, the pictures connect with readers emotionally.—Emma Duncan, 1843 Magazine
Breath is different from your ordinary book or magazine in that each issue features original photography. Because our faith isn't existential, but grounded in real facts, both historical and spiritual, we include photography to inform that connection between the unseen realm of the spirit and the stuff of earth.
There are a million little decisions you make in starting up a Christian indie magazine, one of which is whether you want to include advertising. Magazine readers usually don't think anything about ads, but they present a deeply philosophical question for publishers. Ruth Jamieson lays out the publisher's philosophical dilemma pretty well in the introduction of her book, Print is Dead, Long Live Print:
To truly understand the demise of print, we need to understand who its real customers are. Traditionally, magazines don't make their money from the cover price—that's just to heighten the perceived value of the magazine. Magazines make their real money from selling advertising: to put it another way, they sell brands access to their readership. The magazine is not the product for sale—its readers are. Readers are not the customer—the advertisers are. The unspoken agreement between the publisher and the reader is that the readers get cheap content in return for looking at some adverts. Meanwhile, advertisers get access to readers in return for funding the magazine.
Doing our research on magazine startups, we bought a slew of indie magazines to get an idea of formats, aesthetics, themes, basically what's working and not working for others. A number of them began as smaller indies without any advertising at all. But you look at their current editions, and it's hard to find the substantive articles among the weeds of all their ads. So, while they started out with readers as their customers, you could say that they switched their model to selling brands access to the subscription base they initially developed (even while maintaining their original subscription prices).
The Christian magazine genre appears to have gone the same route. We picked up copies of the most popular Christian titles to spy out the land of Christian publishing and found that they have bought in to the advertising model, too.
While advertising no doubt gives the indie publisher a firmer financial platform, as Jamieson observes, it comes at a price. A great price actually. Consequently, we've made the decision not to accept advertising in Breath—ever. We, instead, have decided to stay true to the covenant that allows for indies to flourish in the first place:
For this new generation of publishers, with their emphasis on high production values and original concepts and content, their curiosity and reader-first mentality, there is a new covenant at the heart of magazine making. Rather than magazines offering their readers cheap content in return for looking at the adverts, indies offer their readers a unique product that will be treasured by their readers, for a modest fee. —Ruth Jamieson, Print is Dead, Long Live Print