Meet the stockists: Magalleria
While Bristol is known as one of the major independent magazine powerhouses in the UK, something’s brewing in nearby Bath as well.
We spoke to Daniel McCabe of Magalleria, Bath’s first dedicated magazine shop which now stocks more than 750 titles, about how they’re getting locals hooked on indie mags.
How did Magalleria come about?
There wasn’t a magazine store in Bath. It was a simple as that when we started, but things evolved very quickly. We conceived and built the store as a sort of minimal, white gallery space, with around 150 titles arranged face out along the shelves. Early on people were saying what a beautiful shop Magalleria was. We now stock more than 750 titles and on some days it can look like a jumble sale so I don’t hear the ‘beautiful shop’ thing anymore. But we know people really like to rummage and although we’re always working on organising it better we think that’s the way to go for us.
We see Magalleria as a sort of salon for ideas. We encourage people to start publishing, however modest. An imaginative zine or small magazine is a great CV for people looking for creative work, as well as an end in itself.
What would your response be to the idea that print is dead?
I think digital gave print the kiss of life. I was a sales & publicity director for a small book publisher before social media kicked in. It was all phone calls and driving around – we didn’t have any of the digital tools or channels that publishers have today. Sure, there are plenty of magazines that are in decline or gone already but it’s because they’re no longer relevant or because they don’t have an audience.
How do you pick your titles?
We think primarily of local readers when we source stock. Bath is big on fashion, food, interiors, art and design so we go after those. My partner and co-founder Susan is interested in political or ‘ideas’ magazines, particularly the American left (we love The Baffler) so we stock these in some depth, even though Bath is not politically vibrant. The best stock tips usually come from customers. People are often unaware how much quality knowledge they possess until you ask the right question.
What’s the indie mag scene like in Bath?
There’s a strong appetite for indie mags in Bath. People are surprised that a store like Magalleria has popped up in the city. Bristol next door might seem a better fit, particularly as it’s generating so many great magazines (Ernest Journal, Another Escape, Lagom, Bricks, Boneshaker) but this is where we live.
Our customers are a broad cross section really, threaded around a love of magazines and maybe divided into those with a long-term addiction and those interested in the more recent, emerging type of independent magazine. There’s currently a significant influx of people moving into Bath and Bristol, plus an artistic and cultural frenzy going on in nearby towns such as Frome, Bruton and Castle Cary. We’re feeding into all of this.
What are some of the most popular magazines you sell?
It’s so useful to have all-rounders in the shop. Cabinet is an old one but a good one. Elementum Journal is a newcomer and another good example – a harmonious collection of articles on literature, visual art, travel, music, ecology and much more, woven around a particular theme. It’s deftly done, highly accessible and packaged in a way that feels nicely substantial.
It goes without saying that Delayed Gratification is on the list. It’s one of the ‘gateway’ magazines we recommend to people just getting into the indie mag thing because we’re confident they’ll take to the journalism and infographics.
I’d also have to mention Lodestars Anthology, Openhouse, Rakesprogress, Tidal, Gather Journal, LOST and The Funambulist as magazines that have sold very well, or added something special to Magalleria.
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