Monday, January 05, 2009

Memo to Wired: Don't Even Think about it!

The editor of PC Magazine had an open letter in the January issue of the magazine. Lance Ulanoff wrote that after January, there would be no print copy of the magazine. He declared that
Starting in February 2009, PC Magazine will become a 100-percent digital publication. So, in addition to our popular network of Websites, which includes our centerpiece,, as well as ExtremeTech, blogs like Gearlog and AppScout, and audio and video content that includes PCMag Radio, Cranky Geeks and DL.TV, we'll offer PC Magazine Digital Edition to all of our print subscribers. The PC Magazine Digital Edition has actually been available since 2002. So for thousands of you, the benefits of this unique medium are already clear. And those benefits will continue to multiply in the coming months, as we work hard to enhance your digital experience.

Okay, so call me old skool, but I like magazines. I've subscribed to a number over the years and I still get a number each month or so in my mailbox. At present time I subscribe to: Wired, Broken Pencil, BriarPatch and Spacing. The latter is a fascinating magazine that studies the urban landscape and issues that face Canada's major cities.

What I enjoy about magazines is the fact that they are not news, they offer articles on timely issues that have been researched and present a point of view which I may not have thought of in the past. The writers consider issues and delve into them, having the time to ponder the full ramification of what they write. Certainly it could be said that not all magazines are like this, after all there is People Magazine, which does give me my pop culture fix. I don't subscribe or read it, except when Kimberly or Katrina are visiting; a few minutes with the latest I am up to date with what is happening. It's amazing how quickly a person can get out of step with celebrity culture, my gosh I didn't know she was pregnant, or he had broken up with her. But I digress, the point is, magazines are meant to be enjoyed, to be read and to be taken anywhere. That is the beauty, you can toss a magazine into a backpack or brief case and bring it along. It takes next to no space and its there waiting for you. It works as easily in the bed as it does in the chair. It just works. Not only that, but its portability means you can read an article one day and a week or so later, come back to read it again. Then again, if you save magazines, you can read an issue and read it again after a few years.

However, this is the year 2009 and things are now modern. The promise of the new digital edition of PC Magazine are:

# It arrives in your e-mail automatically. Just click the link to either download the latest edition, or to view it entirely online.

# It is portable. Once you've downloaded the issue (which takes a matter of seconds), just power up your PC and view it anywhere, on an airplane, in your hotel room, wherever.

# It looks like the PC Magazine you're familiar and comfortable with. I know why you've stuck with us all these years. You like the magazine and you enjoy the format. Our digital platform makes it possible to deliver that same magazine experience on your PC. So you can "turn" the pages and view our features and departments as you do now.

# It's lively and interactive. Our digital edition will eventually offer rich media options within a magazine format. So, for example, next to the product review you're reading in First Looks, you can easily view a slideshow of that product. Or while you're reading a Solutions article on Microsoft Outlook tips, our PC Labs experts can walk you through the steps of some of those tips in a video.

# Yes, you can print it. You can print as many pages of the magazine as you want.

# It's searchable. Here's something PC Magazine print cannot do. Enter a search term and PC Magazine Digital will fill all the related pages.

# A live TOC: The table of contents is not only a place to find out what's in this month's issue. You can use it to navigate directly to the stories you want to read.

# It's Green: You can actually feel good about the amount of paper, ink, and gas we'll all be saving by not producing and consuming a physical magazine.

Of course there has to be reference to it being 'green', although I wonder what sort of carbon footprint a magazine had, compared to something like a coal mine. The promise is, of course, interactivity, social networking to make it sound Web 2.0.

Of course to truly enjoy the experience, one has to download the Zinio Reader. Which is something I'm not enjoying. It is fast and prompt and in a few moments I will attempt to print an article. See, people like to read soemthing they can hold in their hands. I know with laptops one can experience the same portability, with the possible exception of the pool, bathtub or hottub. Water and electronics are still not a good mix and probably won't be for quite a few years.

I'll wait and see with this one. I've tried the program used and can't say I'm overly impressed. But one must keep an open mind. However, as I state in the title, Wired, don't even think about going digital only.

1 comment:

LefthandedSocks said...

You could buy a digital reader. Then it is like you are holding the magazine in your hands. And it takes up very little space. You can keep the issues on an external hard drive so that it is there for when ever you want to re-read it in the future.