Friday, June 27, 2008

Readertorial in action, or How to save Print (1)

In a previous entry I mooted the possibility of opening up your print publication to the readers. In the course of my usual digging around I have discovered a project, in California (of course) which is actually doing just this. The interesting thing is that the print product has been reverse engineered from an online entity. Read Don Pacheco's article about the project, or go to the website that allows you to participate.

Print from online – is it just me or does that sound a bit like watching sport on the tv while listening to the radio commentary?

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Magazines need haptics ... but do haptics need magazines?

I have mentioned the science of haptics a few times in this blog – basically the sensual feel of a magazine when you handle it. I came across an actual haptics machine, quite by chance; I don't know what it does or how it does it but if you would like to learn more, check out

Failing that, you know you can rely on Wikipedia, for information about Haptic Technology and, more relevant to our interests, Haptic Communication. However, if you don't always trust the big wiki as a reliable source, then the Electronic Journal of Haptics Research might be more up your street.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

News International's magazine division closes

Well, that didn't last very long, did it? Ever since the magazine branch of News International suddenly drew its horns in after the launch of LOVE IT, the writing has been on the wall. Now it's off the wall and into the Guardian's media section (and elsewhere).

Of course, Mr Murdoch is far from the first newspaper person to think that magazines represent an easy pot of gold – one thinks of Eve Pollard and Aura magazine, Kelvin MacKenzie and Highbury House, for example – and he won't be the last.

The media are converging, no question about that, but there are still specific skills and perhaps a particular culture, required by each platform.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Magazine retailer WH Smith does digital

Check out W H Smith's version of the e-subscription system mentioned in the previous post on the WHS site.

Not only is the cost of the digital sub more or less the same as a print sub but:
* Subscribers will only have access to duplicate copies for three months
* All issues have DRM

This is not good value. Take the costs of paper, print and repro out of a magazine and you effect big savings. If publishers, distributors and retailers are serious about digital mags they need to address the pricing.

Why do people take out subs?
* Because they want a guaranteed supply
* Because they want a discount per issue
* Because they want to hoard every copy until the attic rafters are bowed

Read what Zinio, suppliers of e-magazine software to 750+ titles, have to say in E-Commerce Times.

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Magazine wholesaler John Menzies seeks a digital future

John Menzies, the newsagent chain, has come up with a wonderful new idea – a computerised station where customers can download digital magazines, according to a report in NMA.

To quote from the story:

"The Magazines on Demand website works in conjunction with free-to-install software and enables users to download
the latest issues of magazines at any time as well as viewing, storing and searching digital magazines bought from the site ...
the key feature of the system is the ability to save magazines to a USB stick."

But can't people with their own computers and an internet connection download all these magazines anyway? And if they don't have a computer, how can they read the magazine?

Wonderful though it is to see such an old-established business marching bravely into the future, I can't help but feel that they have somehow got hold of the wrong end of the (usb) stick.

UPDATE: Next post

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