There's something about a magazine, with its slick layouts and eye-popping images that can be a real pleasure to read. Even an electronic version of a magazine retains the feel, even if it's not as easy to carry to the john.

Ever dream of publishing your own? Thanks to a site that's currently in beta, you can give it a try without a budget, a business plan, or even arranging a printer. Sign on to the OpenZine beta and experience the blog-platform-that-is-a-magazine-platform.

Zine Creation

The zine creation process requires a bit of fumbling around to figure out the workflow, it could use some fine-tuning. Still, it's pretty slick.

You make your cover first. Upload images, cropping and resizing them through the upload interface. Add text with cool fonts, rotate it, add and control drop shadows. There's also a shapes tool and, of course, color controls.

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Creating your magazine in OpenZine's beta

As you move on to creating your first page, it becomes obvious that much of the site revolves around sharing and re-using content. You have the option with every image you upload and article you create to mark it as no sharing, share with everyone, or require permission.

It took us about 30 minutes to throw together this little sample zine. The major limiting factor was that the movie had to be linked in from YouTube, so even though it had already been uploaded elsewhere, your video has to be uploaded to YouTube as well.

For a more professional-looking example, check out Conscious Collective or one of the many other examples on OpenZine's front page.

OpenZine's Potential

Some will, of course, use OpenZine as a new style of blogging platform with fancier formatting options and no need to set up their own CMS from scratch.

Given the notorious failure rate of print magazines, though, OpenZine offers an interesting level of potential beyond pure blogging. We for one are quite curious to see where it goes.