The various elements that contribute to the production of magazines vary wildly. Core elements such as publishing schedules, formats and target audiences are seemingly infinitely variable. Typically, magazines which focus primarily on current events, such as Newsweek or Entertainment Weekly, are published weekly or biweekly. Magazines with a focus on specific interests, such as Cat Fancy, may be published less frequently, such as monthly, bimonthly or quarterly. A magazine will usually have a date on the cover which often is later than the date it is actually published. Current magazines are generally available at bookstores and newsstands, while subscribers can receive them in the mail. Many magazines also offer a 'back issue' service for previously published editions.
Most magazines produced on a commercial scale are printed using a web offset process. The magazine is printed in sections, typically of 16 pages, which may be black-and-white, be in full colour, or use spot colour. These sections are then bound, either by stapling them within a soft cover in a process sometimes referred to as 'saddle-stitching', or by gluing them together to form a spine, a process often called 'perfect-binding'.
Some magazines are also published on the internet. Many magazines are available both on the internet and in hard copy, usually in different versions, though some are only available in hard copy or only via the internet: the latter are known as online magazines.
Most magazines are available in the whole of the country in which they are published, although some are distributed only in specific regions or cities. Others are available internationally, often in different editions for each country or area of the world, varying to some degree in editorial and advertising content but not entirely dissimilar.
The oldest consumer magazine still in print is The Scots Magazine, which was first published in 1739, though multiple changes in ownership and gaps in publication totaling over 90 years weaken that claim. Lloyd's List was founded in Edward Lloyd’s England coffee shop in 1734; it is still published as a daily business newspaper.