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Cultural Magazines Toolbox

Small Magazine Handbooks

The Small Magazine Handbook Series: tools for effective management. Over 400 pages of expertise! The handbooks collect the best practices in the industry today, and act as field guides to the multi-disciplinary practice of publishing a magazine. There are five titles in the series—on advertising, editorial, circulation, financial management and human resources—all available in print and as digital editions. Order a copy: members; non-members; students.


Magazines Canada, in consultation with its Cultural Magazines Committee, commissioned the 2014 Benchmarks study for a comprehensive look at the state of cultural magazines in the country. It is the first in-depth study in ten years and was based on data contained in 2009 grant applications received by the Canada Council for the Arts. The Benchmarks study examines audience, circulation, editorial, promotion, production costs and overhead and serves as a valuable resource for cultural magazines who are looking to compare themselves and learn from their peers. Also, find highlights of the study in Stephen Osborne's Overview of Cultural Publishing in Canada: Part 1.

Board of Directors

Cultural magazines often operate as part of a non-profit organization. A magazine's board of directors can be a valuable resource, if you develop and work with its members effectively. Publisher and Arts Consultant Judy Wolfe has a set of practical tools on her website. And don't forget Small Magazine Human Resources: A Guide to Working Together by Alicia Pace. Part of the Magazines Canada handbook series, this handbook includes tips on HR and volunteer management, creating, recruiting and hiring your team, training and more. Order a print or digital copy.


Want to hear from the experts? Listen to an AudioMag, Magazines Canada's podcast series featuring new views, opinion and timely information from the industry’s best and brightest.

  • Episode 7 examines creative ways for growing your cultural magazines, merging advertising and circulation campaigns and more. Featuring Geist’s Publisher Stephen Osborne and Ad Sales Director Trevor Battye.
  • Episode 8 goes deep into the world of online ad sales and the need to monetize everything. Featuring Martin White, Principal of Online Magazine Marketing.
  • Episode 17 looks at the need for succession planning at small magazines and building on existing strengths. Featuring John Shelling, Managing Editor of BackFlash.
  • Episode 34 shares winning strategies for managing partnerships and sponsorships to increase circulation and raise brand awareness. Featuring Mary Schendlinger, Co-founder and Consulting Editor of Geist.

Business and Audience Building Initiatives Study

Our Business and Audience Building Initiatives Study (2012) details an examination by D.B. Scott of Impresa Communications of these three topics:

  1. A "no returns" system for retailing single copies
  2. Collaborative representation for national advertising
  3. A tailored direct mail promotion for subscriptions

The topics were developed in consultation with publishers at the MagNet 2011 Cultural Magazine Lunch and with Magazines Canada's Cultural Magazine Committee.

Join Magazines Canada

Review our Membership Kit to become a member of Magazines Canada and join our organization of nearly 400 titles, growing every year.

For more information on cultural magazines, contact For more information on the Canadian magazine industry take a look at Canadian Magazines canadiens: the definitive resource on magazine publishing.

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