+886: a new magazine

cover of June 2007 issue of +886 magazineThere seems to be no shortage of free English and bilingual magazines in Taiwan these days. Taiwan Fun, Taiwanease (currently in hiatus), Centered, Highway 11 and 24Seven are the ones I know of.   

Today I discovered another one: +886. The cover features Wu Bai (伍佰) and there is an interview with him about taike (台客) inside. The Taike Rock Festival in Taichung last month is also covered. 

There are a number of other interesting articles. Vinyl records seem to be a theme. A DJ talks about his love for vinyl and there is a story about the Witch Cloud Restaurant (巫雲) whose owner has a collection of over 40,000 records. There is also an article about graphic designer Xiao Qing-yang (蕭青陽). He was the first Taiwanese to be nominated for a Grammy Award (for Best Recording Package). 

The quality of the printing is high and the layout very clean. All articles are in both Chinese and English and the quality of the English translation is very high. I look forward to seeing the next issue of the magazine.  

10 thoughts on “+886: a new magazine

  1. Hi David,
    The name is pretty creative (the twn phone code) and the cover graphics look good, but I wonder why all the freebie mags go with the more expensive, glossy layout formats. They seem to all end in failure at some point. The ones that last more than a season or two seem to be dull and uninspiring. Content just isn’t there.

    I alway wonder why no one does the cheaper, but much more enjoyable to read type of city magazine like the weekly Boston Dig. There is one in Hong Kong too that is pretty good. IMHO, if they put more investment in quality writers and sales people (for better ads and contests) and less in the printing, this formula would be a winner.

  2. I’d also put a classified section in a city guide. The only classified available now* is on Forumosa, but most local people do not know about it and its hard to sell things on that site.

    (*not including chinese online sites)

  3. Marc, there is POTS which is published in a newspaper format, but sadly their English-language section was discontinued.

    +886 has only full page ads — no small ads or classifieds. I am not sure what sort of market they are targeting, but the quality of the content is certainly good and no advertorials. Whether they can maintain the quality or stay in business I don’t know.

  4. I remember Pots and was going to mention it, but its not what I had in mind. POTs never really worked because most of their content was so banal. As I recall one of the universities ran that paper for a while, but it was a money sieve and they finally gave up a year or two ago. Also, the size of Pots is not the same as the city guides I mentioned. There is a specific format that works in many cities. I have a copy of a Boston Dig magazine at my apartment, if anyone reads this and wants it, you can contact me.

  5. Most of the better free weeklies and magazines I know of are heavily supported by adult advertising. From what I’ve seen none of the magazines above have pursued this. Maybe it’s hard to do with the semi-illegality of most sex work in Taiwan. I suppose there’s also the risk of attracting the attention of politicians looking to make headlines by prosecuting indecency. I’ll never forget Ma Ying-Jeou’s campaign to get the aromatherapy and Combat Zone ads out of “This Month in Taiwan” — something about the image it projects to first-time travelers to the island. Franky I find all those KSS cable tie ads far more offensive.

  6. Didn\’t the Taipei Times use to do a lot of sex related adverts? I seem to remember a bunch of ads for Transvestite massages and weird shit like that.

    Re: This month in Taiwan – Years ago, when I first came to Taiwan, I designed an ad for a mold injection company. After leaving for a few years then coming back, I noticed the ad was still running. That magazine is a dinosaur, nothing every changes. Its a wonder it lasted as long as it has, but you know something can be learned. Business travelers want specific
    info for short term stays.

    Re: HK Freebie Mag – I think the publication is called HK Mag.


    Maybe they are willing to be a sponsor for someone? If so, please remember me so I can get a discount on some ad space in the future!!

    It\’s been awhile since I read a HK Mag. By coincidence, I will be going to Hong Kong next week so I can try to pick up a copy if anyone wants. I use to enjoy reading this mag while sitting at the Pacific Coffee shop in the old
    Star Ferry Terminal on HK Island. Pacific Coffee had the best sandwiches…

    BTW: I was just looking at the Taiwan Immigration website. Maybe this is useful for marketing to get some idea on the amount of people that come into Taiwan every month: immigration

  7. Yep, that’s the one in HK. I read it this week, it was pretty decent. I agree with some of the opinions, in Montreal, Canada, we had a bunch of newspaper style freebie mags that have been working for years without any problems (Voir, The Mirror). I did like Vice as well, but it was a glossy type mag.

    I did read the +886 initial magazine, but I’m not sure that it will stay free. From the cover page, it looks like it will cost something in the next few editions. Maybe not, but that’s the impression that I get.

  8. I picked up +886 last week. Don’t really like it much, though. The quality of writing is its biggest crutch. The articles amount to photo captions in terms of their depth and informative-ness. It’s kind of a bummer.

    One thing that’s really cool, though, is that a flickr user is prominently displayed throughout the mag: David Barker (http://www.flickr.com/photos/54073167@N00/).

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