Micro Mart was a weekly computer magazine published in the United Kingdom by Dennis Publishing Ltd., as of 2015 it had a circulation of 5,422. In a letter to subscribers in December 2016 it was announced that the magazine would cease publication with issue No 1445 (published just after Christmas 2016): "After 30 amazing years of telling it like it is, Micro Mart magazine is logging off."
The magazine contained news, reviews, articles, and classified adverts covering many popular areas of computing (both in hardware and software areas). The magazine's articles are targeted at many different levels of expertise, from beginners' tasks (such as working with Word documents, setting up a simple wireless network, or building a water-cooled PC) to more advanced articles (such as working with Linux kernels or becoming a shareware author).
The magazine was also notable for being the only publication in the UK to still regularly cover the Amiga market, most magazines having abandoned coverage of the format in the years following the collapse of Commodore.
Micro Mart was launched in November 1985 as a fortnightly publication called Micro Computer Mart consisting of classified advert listings for the computer trade. The magazine soon expanded in editorial content to include articles and reviews from many realms of computing. It became popular with both amateur and professional system builders. In 1991, due to reader demands, Micro Mart moved to a weekly format.
On 14 November 2002 (issue 723) the magazine moved to a full colour format, having previously been printed in black and white. At this time, Micro Mart also expanded in content (for example Ask Jason moved from 1 to 2 pages).
Since then, the magazine has celebrated its 30th birthday, its 1,400th issue and had several design changes, the most recent in 2011.
Micro Mart was initially published by MicroMart (UK) Ltd. Owners Stewart Somerville and Roy Perrin, along with Stewart's wife Fiona, controlled publication and distribution of the magazine until 28 February 1995 when Trinity Publications (a subsidiary of the Trinity Mirror group) bought the company. On 12 June 2006 the magazine was bought by Dennis Publishing Ltd. after a deal brokered by Ian Savage Publishing. The magazine joined the ranks of titles such as Computer Shopper, PC Pro, and Custom PC.
The magazine was under the editorship of Anthony Enticknap, whose leadership in recent years saw the magazine solidifying its sales and readership figures at a time when traditional print media was being squeezed by the Internet. The magazine was overseen by Simon Brew.
Micro Mart had several quirks that help give it an identity. For example, the disclaimer printed at the end of the magazine was ended with a short insight into the news and events in the editorial office. One feature of Micro Mart was the images of the regular experts placed alongside their columns.
As well as this, there were several other quirky additions to the magazine that do not contribute to the 'normal' content. For example, a regular feature of the news section was Tales from the Towers (Micro Mart Towers being the pet name for the editorial offices used by magazine staff and contributors). Written by staff writer Michelle, this section gave a light-hearted look at the weeks events in the editorial office. The takeover was both the offices move from Birmingham to London and Michelle left the team; TFTT became Tales from the Shed written by editor Simon Brew for a while, but was not being included in the magazine (though it may return at a later date).
The magazine was the only English language commercial magazine to still have a regular section dedicated to the Amiga platform (this article celebrated its tenth birthday). This came about after readers requested such coverage, after several requests the Amiga section was launched.
Many sections in the magazine were devoted to reader contributions. The regular caption competition invited readers to submit a caption for a computing related image. A less regular addition was called Readers' dives. As the name suggests, this feature printed images of readers computer rooms (or dives). One section that gained more response was the Windows Crashing feature, where readers sent in pictures of Microsoft Windows going wrong in public places (such as cash machines or photo booths). This particular feature was replaced on one occasion with 'EVE Online Crashing', a news story/user submission hybrid featuring a crash occurring during the advert break of an EVE online Tournament.
In late 2005, the editorial team introduced readers' reviews. This section was intended for reviews of computer products submitted by readers, but a lack of response caused it to die out after a few months.
Micro Mart had a commitment to involving readers as much as possible in the publication. Many of the lead articles were written by readers, and for some this led to them pursuing a career in journalism. (Many of the magazine's current experts started in this way).
Micro Mart also had a large online community based on the website's forums. There were slightly over 10,000 registered users (although a much smaller number regularly contribute). The forum was divided up to cover several topic sections (such as retro computing, Linux or gaming) and had a core group of contributors who answer questions and queries. The board was moderated by volunteers who each monitor different sections.
The Micro Mart chat room was connected to the forums, most regularly used between midnight and 2am every night by certain forum users and moderators, there was also a monthly early evening meeting organised by Jason d'Allison (from the Ask Jason magazine column) where he answered questions. However, in October 2008 Jason D'Allison announced that the chatroom had "run its course", and the final official monthly met was held in December 2008.
A Micro Mart blog was set up in October 2005 but was abandoned quite quickly. After the move to Dennis Publishing, some new members of the Micro Mart editorial team attempted to revive it, but it was only updated sporadically.Editor
: Anthony Enticknap
: John Moore
: Laura Jane Gunnion
A list of regular sections (inc. editorial) in the magazine, listed in accordance with the magazine's layout:Features - A variety of articles on a wide range of computer-related subjects produced by freelance writers. They usually consist of a single lead story as well as several (approximately 8 each week) other pieces.
On Test - Reviews and comparisons of computing hardware, software, and peripherals
- Weekly group test of computer hardware/software. Recent tests include office suites, a roundup of the latest motherboards and AM2 processors. The rating system takes into account quality
(with each being marked out of 10), from these an overall mark (again out of 10) is awarded. At the end of the roundup the overall best product is awarded Editors choice
whilst the runner up receives a Highly recommended
- General reviews of the latest computer hardware/software. The products are reviewed by a variety of freelance reviewers and awarded marks out of 10 in the same way as the group tests.
News and Views - News, editorial, and letters from the PC world
Specialists - Commentary by six experts on computing fields of interest
Beginners' Linux Mart
(defunct) - Tips for using Linux for the first time, replaced in issue 1068 by Linux News
(was "Linux News") - Latest News from the Global Linux Community
- Amiga-related news and views, celebrated its tenth Anniversary in issue 1068 (now very other issue, and thus fortnightly.)
- Apple related news and views (alternates with "Amiga Mart" and is thus fortnightly.)
- Phone and Tablet news and views
(defunct) - Retro gaming and old computers
(was "System Builder") - Advice and tips from a professional PC builder
(was "Gaming Weekly") - Weekly coverage of gaming news, containing separate columns for both online and offline news.
Classified Ads - Free classified adverts notable people who was quite active was pcmadness AKA (David) of www.modulewebdesign.com
Experts - Expert Q&A pages from two contributors
- Technical computer questions
- General system building/software questions
(defunct) - Programming and web development questions
(defunct) - Internet Security questions
Logging Off... - A regular contributor ends the magazine with a short commentary/editorial piece.
- A Crossword Puzzle with Computing Terms