Mag Nation, a specialist magazine retailer has won the Business3000 award for Best Young Business in Melbourne.

Co-founder Sahil Merchant was delighted to accept the award.

“It is very encouraging to receive recognition for ignoring common wisdom and breaking all the accepted rules within an industry,” he said.

Unlike the newsagent channel, which Merchant goes out of his way to distance himself from, Mag Nation is constantly increasing its magazine range and also actively encourages customers to browse. In fact, the Mag Nation stores have signs saying “everything at Mag Nation can be touched, felt and browsed… except for our staff”.

Mag Nation has developed a cult following in Melbourne. Known for its range of over 4000 mainstream as well as traditionally ‘hard to find’ niche magazines, its flagship store in Elizabeth St expanded to a new store in Greville St, Prahran early in 2008.

In the last two years, approximately two million people have walked through Mag Nation’s doors.

“These customers have other choices, and we are therefore humbled that they continue to choose a small business like us over larger brand alternatives” says Merchant.

Asked why he thought Mag Nation was able to take out the Best Young Business Award over other nominees from many different industries, Merchant said it might be the store’s willingness to experiment as driving its innovation and its website is the prime example.

“Online magazine subscriptions are considered to be the enemy by most magazine retailers. Yet we have built a massive website offering both local and international magazine subscriptions, and have done so in a way that for the first time ever allows customers to have an enjoyable experience as well as a pragmatic transaction. No other physical retailer has attempted to cannibalise themselves in this way,” he explained.

The Mag Nation website ( features a city made of magazines that users can navigate through, as well as a tongue in cheek ‘magdentifier’ that takes users through an increasingly silly set of questions to recommend magazines based on their personality profile.