Paperback Theme Review: Build a Beautiful Magazine Website with WordPress

Today we are taking a look at the latest theme from Array Themes, the WordPress theme company founded by Mike McAlister. Array make some great looking themes including their recent Checkout Theme which I was a big fan of, I even use it myself to power our free themes section here on WPLift.

Array Themes all have very nice original designs with a focus on solid Typography and neat styling touches which really make them stand out amongst the thousands of WordPress themes which all follow the same design trends.

Paperback is the first theme from Array which is focused on letting you create a magazine style blog layout. It has a large header area with a featured posts scroller at the top which looks perfect for drawing attention to your main articles. It feels reminiscent of sites like Polygon, Mashable & Techcrunch which need to pack a lot of content on the homepage with the most important articles at the top to draw the most clicks.


In this post I will be taking a look at how the theme functions behind the scenes, how to setup and customize it and what you can achieve on the front end.

Paperback is available for $69 or as part of the Array Theme Pass which costs $199 for all their themes.

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Theme Features

  • Multimedia Driven Content – Creating beautiful, engaging content has never been easier. Paperback includes styles for multimedia including photos, galleries, video, audio and more.
  • Pick Your Layout – Choose from a one column, two column, or three column layout for your posts. Infinite Scroll lets users dynamically load more posts without leaving the page.
  • Hand-Crafted Typography – We’ve partnered with Typekit to bring gorgeous, modern fonts to your website. Type styles have been hand-crafted to ensure a comfortable reading and writing experience.
  • Simple Customization – Using the Customizer, you can change your site title, accent color, upload a logo and more, all with a live preview of your changes. Zero coding skills required!
  • Powerful Publishing Tools – Paperback includes content discovery features like the Category Mega Menu and the Feature Post Header to put more content at your visitor’s fingertips.
  • Share Your Content – Add a social icon menu to let visitors find you throughout the web. Paperback also integrates with Jetpack to add share links to your posts and pages.
  • Magazine Style Layouts
  • Category Mega Menu
  • Clean, Responsive Design
  • Valid HTML5 Code
  • Infinite Scroll Option
  • Social Media and Sharing Menu
  • Translation Ready
  • Theme Customizer Support
  • Contact Form
  • Chrome, Safari, Firefox, IE9+

Installing The Theme

After you upload and activate the theme, you are then taken to a “Getting Started” page which contains the theme documentation, recommended plugins, a Support section which links you through to their customer support forums and Latest updates tab which lists the changelog for the theme.


On this page is also a license key box, entering your license here will enable the Typekit fonts for the theme and also in-dashboard updates for the theme.


The theme recommends you install the Jetpack plugin and activate the following features which are supported by the theme :

Customizing The Theme

Once the theme is activated and your plugin installed, the theme is ready to start customizing for your requirements – there are no extra templates to use as the theme functions as a regular blogging theme. Everything is handled within the Customizer so if you head over to that you will see the top setting is “Theme Options” which then lets you open the “General Settings” where you can set a post layout for the theme – 1 column + sidebar, 2 column + sidebar or 3 columns.

Here you can also set the excerpt length for the homepage, enable the category “Mega Menu”, enable the Fixed Scroll bar when scrolling back to the top of your site and you can also choose to hide comments by default, requiring a user to click a button to show them ( good for mobile visitors ).


Also within the “Theme Options” is settings for the “Featured Post Header” where you can choose a category of posts to show here ( you could create a new category for this purpose). You can change the overlay opacity here which will show over the top of your featured images, a good idea so you can darken them to let the text show more clearly over the top. You can also change the featured image height on single post pages.


The Site Title section allows you to upload a custom logo and hide the text version, you can also upload a site icon here for browsers and apps.


The “Colors” section allows you to change certain colors within the theme using a color-picker or by pasting in HEX values. You can also enter some custom CSS here if needed.


The final step is to setup your custom menus, the theme contains 4 locations you can use – Primary, Secondary, Social Icons and Footer.


How the Front-End Looks

This is a great looking theme so I thought I would point out some of the nice styling touches. The homepage has a large “Featured Posts” area which loads up posts from a category of your choosing with a title, excert and author info. Under the latest post is links to other posts in this category which when clicked load them up into the large area, you can then click again to go through to that post.


A nice touch with this theme is fixed bar you can enable in the Customizer which will appear when a user scrolls back up a page – it shows a featured post which can be clicked through to and also the search bar and menu icon. You can see it at the top of this screenshot:


The footer also looks great in this theme – at the bottom of single posts is a next post / previous post section which also displays the featured image as the background.



Paperback costs $69 for the single theme which includes a one year license – you are free to use the theme after the year expires but you will no longer receive in dashboard theme updates or support for the Typekit fonts. Alternatively, you can also purchase it as part of the “Theme Pass” for $199 which includes access to all the ( 18 currently) Array themes.



Honestly, I love Array Themes – I think they are among the very best quality themes you can get for WordPress and Paperback is no different.

Everything about the theme feels so polished – the attention to detail is outstanding. There are no bloated features, page builders and other things which can slow your site down, simply activate the theme, pick your plugins if required and start using it. The in-dashboard documentation is spot on and should have you up and running in no time.

From a designers point of view, the theme is beautiful – The Typography and small design touches look great. You can check out the Styleguide here which shows off the post styling so you can see what sort of thing you can achieve with it.

Take a look at Paperback if you are looking for a new theme for your blog or magazine style website.

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Oliver Dale is the founder of Kooc Media, An Internet Company based in Manchester, UK. I founded WPLift and ThemeFurnace, find out more on my Personal Blog. Thanks!