THE FUTURE OF PRINT

We were amazed to find that PC Magazine, one of the oldest publications in the computer industry, is now online only. Ziff Davis, the parent company, will no longer print a paper edition, and we’ve learned that other publishers may follow suit.

You can read the special digital version of PC Magazine on your computer, iPhone or iPod Touch if you sign up for it at Zinio.com. Zinio’s site exactly duplicates what the magazine looks like in print. The key word here is “exactly.” The magazine is in full color, complete with all the advertising pages. Along with PC Magazine, you can read PC World, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Golf, Playboy, Esquire, Road and Track, US News and World Report and many others, though these magazines are still appearing in print as well.

Most newspapers and magazines have an online version, where you can read most and sometimes all of their content, but the format – the look, is quite different from the printed publication. Some publications even have articles online that did not appear in the print version. This is because as any reporter or editor knows, you always have more material than you can fit into print, so here’s a chance to use it by moving it online. Nice as all this is, it’s not the same as seeing the actual publication as it appears in real life, so to speak.

Each page in the Zinio reader can be flipped over or back just as if you were holding the magazine in your hands. An enormous advantage of this version is that it’s less busy and has a better layout than a magazine’s free website does, and has the color that’s missing even in the Amazon Kindle 2 electronic reader. Each issue can be searched by key words, just like any electronic document. If you want to see all mentions of any company, or the economy or the Middle East or mining or asphalt paving, etc., just type a keyword in the search box.

Zinio.comWe liked the fact that the Zinio version of a magazine can be read offline as well as on. If you’re stuck in an airport or the doctor’s office, facing ever more copies of architectural Digest, you can have your own favorite magazine right there on your laptop or iPhone. Like the free Adobe Reader from Adobe.com, the Zinio reader is free from Zinio.com. You can subscribe to many magazines this way. Prices are similar to print subscription prices.

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