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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Thats a big debate at the moment. Is the future digital or will people still prefer to read a magazine from a hard copy
It's a debate that has been going on for a few years now but there are a couple of underlying questions that no-one has answered yet:
• how do you replicate the tactile (haptic) experience of opening a print magazine?
• if you can't, what is the online equivalent?

I don't think that making print magazines into more-or-less sophisticated pdfs is the only answer, and it may not even be an answer at all.

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