View Full Version : Is "Make Magazine" worth it ???

09-12-2011, 11:45 PM
I've been debating if I should subscribe or not. They have a deal for $29.95 for 1 year (4 issues).
I see it every once in a while at the book store, but it's pretty expensive off-the-shelf.

What say you guys that subscribe...Worth it or not ?


Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
09-12-2011, 11:51 PM
IMO, no, it's not a good value. I subscribed for one year and didn't feel that I got my money's worth. I recently received the same offer you did and threw it out. But, that said, there are others who seem to like it.


09-12-2011, 11:59 PM
I received that same offer in the mail. I am not going to subscribe, I frequent the book store and can glance through it there. Its a quick read that's about all. Now if there where some more Propeller Projects I would support them.

09-13-2011, 12:34 AM
I subscribe, and I like it. It's a fun magazine that publishes lots of interesting projects. It's more inspirational than informative.

09-13-2011, 12:42 AM
I've been debating if I should subscribe or not. They have a deal for $29.95 for 1 year (4 issues).
I see it every once in a while at the book store, but it's pretty expensive off-the-shelf.

What say you guys that subscribe...Worth it or not ?


It is a bit pricey. Maybe if it was in digital format. Where would you put the magazine version?

09-13-2011, 12:44 AM
I like the how-to articles I write for them! <hehe>

Seriously, if there's a project that tickles your fancy, then the cover price is worth it. Otherwise it's just an amusing read. There aren't a lot of "I need to keep this" informational articles in it, something I wish it had. I guess they use their online component for the informational articles, and fill the printed magazine with projects you can duplicate. Whether or not you want to duplicate them depends on you and the project. So far I haven't had a desire to make an Arduino-controlled yogurt maker, since I refuse to eat yogurt.

Now if there where some more Propeller Projects I would support them.

I don't have anything Prop-based currently planned for them (I gave MattG an idea that I think might help the Propeller get more coverage in Make, and no, it's not the "Mystery Project"), but I just finished two positive but short reviews of Parallax bots for their upcoming Kits issue, and I have two construction articles in the wings that use Parallax accessories. Slowly but surely.

-- Gordon

09-13-2011, 01:08 AM
I subscribed for the first two years and then decided there wasn't much content so I stopped. Now, I make it to a bookstore every quarter and check out the current issue - if it has anything interesting I might buy it but usually, I've gotten most of the fluff out of it while reading it trying to decide to buy or not. I did buy the current Robot issue but that's been it for a while. I must have missed the Arduino controlled yogurt maker when I saw the steam powered trebuchet!

09-13-2011, 01:11 AM
Subscribe to a magazine? Why not make your own?

09-13-2011, 02:10 AM
I have a rather extensive collection (about 450 issues total) of the "mechanicals" magazine from the late 1930s to the early 1970s. Make follows their footsteps. Even the size of Make -- so-called digest format -- is like these old magazines.

The thing with these old publications(Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Science & Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated) is that they actually had about four times the editorial content of magazines today. They just squeezed it in there somehow, between the dozen pages of classifieds and the ads for the Rosecrucians and mail order trusses. There was so much more to look at, including informational articles on various technologies. The economics of publishing today wouldn't allow for nearly the same amount of content.

I'm happy Make is doing what they do, because the whole "maker movement" is benefiting outfits like Parallax. While it may not be like the 1950s, where every dad had his own lathe, at least people are going back to their garages and building things again.

-- Gordon

09-13-2011, 02:20 AM
Yes part of the reason to subscribe is to support the concept of "make it yourself".
I feel like others have said, I read it in the bookstore and it's interesting, but nothing spectacular. I usually spend about 20 minutes leafing through it and then put it back.


Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
09-13-2011, 03:02 AM
I usually spend about 20 minutes leafing through it ...
That's about the amount of time I spent with each of the four issues I received from my subscription -- if that much.


09-15-2011, 01:05 AM
I enjoy "Nuts and Volts" and "Servo". They aren't always that thick with content, but they are nice to read and come out every month, plus the ads are great. They have a propeller article in most issues.

09-15-2011, 02:15 AM
From looking at this discussion it would almost seem that if we want to see more Paralax/Prop content then we should work out how we can contribute articles rather than see folks with "Arduino-controlled yogurt maker"s.

Gordon, how easy/hard is it to submit articles? If we do, do we get paid?

Are they crying out for content?

Would an influx of Parallax/Propeller projects be appreciated?

Would you/could you mentor potential submitters to get the content at the right level - if for example we shared them here in this forum?

Off the top of my head a project to highlight Parallax products for makers could be a "color" match tool. Made of a Parallax ColorPal, a Prop and a Parallax serial LCD and some buttons. The user could then get the 256bit RGB code for the item in sample to try and match. Of course, noting the potential limitations of the sensor. This would bring awareness to the ColorPal, Serial LCD and Prop. Given the parts it could be coded in a weekend.


User Name
09-15-2011, 02:42 AM
So far I haven't had a desire to make an Arduino-controlled yogurt maker, since I refuse to eat yogurt.

That was genuinely funny!

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
09-15-2011, 02:52 AM
If we do, do we get paid? Are they crying out for content?
Magazines pay a shamefully meager pittance for the content they publish. Yes, they're absolutely crying for editorial content; but, based on their rates, they must be relying more on their contributors' ego for the recognition of getting published, than for any pecuniary interests. If you're a new business struggling to gain recognition, getting an article accepted in the right magazine can be a great one-time boost. And, if it's good enough, the magazine's editors might approach you about doing a monthly column. Avoid this siren song of ego-gratification like the plague! Otherwise, your life will become an absolute hell of last-minute deadlines! Frankly, bought-and-paid-for advertising is a much better deal than the choke-collar existence of a regular columnist. At least that was my experience many years ago.


09-15-2011, 04:39 PM
@zoopydogsit, I couldn't speak for any of the magazines, but anyone interested in pursuing it is free to drop a line here. I'll provide whatever independent feedback I can. Please make a [Chatter] post, and not a PM.

I'll say this: The trick is to find something the Propeller can do that the others can't, or can't do as well. An example is a recent three-LED project someone did in Make using the PICAXE 08M. It's a capable chip, but as noted in the article it's too slow to PWM all three LEDs at once, so the author used three 08Ms. At $3 each, that's $9, and the project could have been done -- with room to spare for additional LEDs -- with a bare 40-pin Propeller and EEPROM chip.

Like all businesses, magazines try to find out what their readers want, and address that. So projects you've seen for the Arduino, but now using a Propeller, probably won't fly, because by it's old news. Look for what I call "the compelling story." What makes it compelling depends on your angle -- it could be something completely novel, or a new approach that costs 1/2 what it used to. You have to find that angle and exploit it.

Phil, what you say about pay is partially true, but it depends on the magazine, the standing of the author, and what kind of rights you can reserve so you can resell the work. If you sell a magazine first serial rights you can still republish it in a book. I've often gone the other way -- material I originally wrote for a book became magazine articles. If you look at what Forrest Mims has done over the years, you can see how a pro does it. I can't count how many re-uses of his Mini Notebook material I've seen in various forms, and much of it also appeared in magazines in the early to late 70s.

You probably won't get rich just off the articles. The idea is to parlay your work with other time/energy investments. Elektor, especially, is full of kits the authors sell, either directly, or indirectly through the magazine. In this way the article is like a 2-3 page ad you didn't have to pay for.

-- Gordon

09-15-2011, 08:08 PM
I personally think magazines pay a nice amount. I got $400 off my article in N&V, enough for a good bit of electronic parts. However, it was a 5 page article, and they pay by size/editing.

Roy Eltham
09-15-2011, 08:48 PM
I enjoy Make magazine and have every issue. I refer back to older issues from time to time, some of the projects are neat to read about and use some of what they show in something else.
I really like the much higher quality of their covers, pages, and printing. Issues from nearly 5 years ago look almost brand new. My old issues of Servo and Nuts & Volts don't hold up as well.

09-16-2011, 05:47 PM
I subscribe to quite a few technical magazines: Elector, N&V, 2600, Make, Technology Review, IEEE Spectrum, Circuit Cellar, Communications of the ACM, Scientific American, American Scientist, AUVSI Unmanned Systems, and Navigation. I used to subscribe to Servo, but I cancelled because I don't think the content is all that interesting or edited very well (personal opinion...).

David B
09-16-2011, 08:17 PM
I subscribed to Make earlier this year because it came with a ticket to the San Mateo Makerfaire.

Aside from that, I probably wouldn't get it. The projects are cool and all that, but the magazine is really expensive, and with the backlog of projects I've got scattered all over my workbench, I'm really not looking for another.

The new ideas are great to see, but since I'm usually not looking to build them specifically, all the detailed how-to-build instructions aren't worth the high price of the magazine to me.