Well its quite professional, but obviously not a 116 page, A4 colour mag with a glossy cover.
On a recent edition of In Business (or was it Global Business), Peter day was talking with the head of a company who can produce book print runs of 1 at (they say) cost effective rates. I had assumed that something similar may also exist for mags, so I did some digging. The results are, however, mixed.
Taking the USA as an example, PrintPelican.Com (I don't mean to endorse them, but they have a good website for specing print jobs and promise reasonable rates) can do a print run of 10,000 for $2.00 per copy, including mailing but excluding disc, for what I'm guessing are the specs of LXF. I'm not an expert, so can't tell if this is a good deal but it doesn't look bad to me as a ball-park figure, as our American cousins say. However, to determine if such an enterprise were profitable, the margin obviously needs to be added to that in order to pay for salaries, offices etc.
The trouble is, given the circulation report inside the mag (assuming that it includes overseas sales), I doubt that there are even 1,000 subscribers in the USA, and for a run of 1,000, it will be $8.83 a copy.
So in conclusion, sadly the economics of overseas printing don't stack up for the volumes likely to be required This isn't a slight on LXF, as a larger, more general UK computer title to which I also subscribe has only double the circulation of LXF. That's impressive, but it isn't a factor of ten.
So where to from here? Digital subs will certainly help, and appear to be in the pipeline. At a stroke that would remove printing and shipping costs, speed up delivery and ensure the product arrives in perfect condition. For now, better marketing overseas would also help, as one day overseas printing could be viable in the USA. However, it is unlikely to be so in Oz, given the smaller size of the market. However, poor service from postal service providers will negate a marketing push overseas. Yep, I think that the future is digital, as it is the least hassle solution. But the devil is in the detail of the implementation, there.
However, you are unlikely to be mugged on public transport/in the street for a paper copy of LXF, which is also better suited to reading in the bath, from a getting it ruined point of view.