Memo from adult magazine to rivals: class sells

Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:24am EDT
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By Christine Kearney and Sharon Reich

NEW YORK (Reuters) - In a darkly-lit cheap motel, photographer Jonathan Leder encourages a young female model posing semi-naked in a hot tub to lean toward the camera.

If that image of a nude young woman seems a tired cliche and cheap way to sell magazines, the makers of "Jacques" would beg to differ. For rival publishers it might pay to listen because "Jacques" is breaking a downward trend in periodical publishing where cost-cutting is the norm.

And publishers might be surprised to hear "Jacques" is not the latest high-end fashion magazine, but an adult publication that aims to be a kitschy vintage throwback to pin-up magazines of the 1960s and '70s with centerfolds of models such as a recent, topless woman posing on a vintage motorcycle.

"It's a question of quality," Leder, the magazine's creative director told Reuters about the reason "Jacques" had increased in popularity while other magazines were failing.

"Unfortunately, publishers, like many other people in this day and age, seem to think, 'why not, if we can do it cheaper, let's just do it cheaper and sell it for less.'"

The "Jacques" mantra: spend a little on quality, and your book will sell for more -- to more people.

In a frantic publishing climate where many magazines have struggled with the rise of the Internet, "Jacques" launched in May 2009, a year that would see some 282 magazines fold in the first nine months, according to

Just 1,000 copies of "Jacques" were printed on its first run and of those, 175 were sold at newsstands. Now, the new issue of the quarterly magazine, which has a cover price of $9, has a print run of 14,000, is sold at bookstores including Barnes & Noble and Borders and has an overseas distributor.   Continued...

<p>Jonathan Leder photographs a model during a casting photo shoot for the adult magazine "Jacques" in New York October 22, 2010. While other publishers adapt to the digital age, "Jacques" stands out among rival adult magazines by using old-fashioned film and natural light to shoot pictorials of naked women with a retro-inspired aesthetic. The "Jacques" mantra: spend a little on quality, and your book will sell for more -- to more people. Picture taken October 22, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>