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Sunday, September 14, 2008

and then e-magazines

The second great story in The New York Times tech section this week was a short piece on Esquire Magazine's 75th anniversary issue. A related story appeared on MSNBC's website. For the special anniversary edition of the magazine, Esquire placed a 10 inch eink display on the cover of roughly an eigth of the magazines circulated. Inside the cover is a second 10 inch display with shifting colors for an advertisement of the new Ford vehicle.

What does that have to do with this blog, you ask? Well, the magazine and newspaper industries are experiencing a transformation from digital to print. Ad revenues are down, as are newstand sales. Overal economic downturn is also having an effect. Esquire is attempting to show that there can be excitement in the magazine business again. Some of their future plans for updating content live -- creating a "living magazine" are very much the stuff of the movie Minority Report, which came out a few years ago. It won't be long and we will probably be having the characters on our cereal boxes talking to us too.

Anyway, I have been out hunting for a copy of this edition to bring with me on my college store talks this fall. No luck yet. The hybridization of ink and eink, paper and e-paper is a fascinating concept to consider. Imagine how the cost on the display technology must have come down in order for Esquire to produce this issue in this way.

To learn more about the special issue, including some videos of the cover, and information on how Esquire went about conceiving and then implementing the idea, check out the following links from the magazine:

They also have a couple interesting pieces on recycling the cover (if you are into recycling history), and a challenge to hackers to hack the cover.


Jeff S said...

Those mags are available on ebay:


Prices are all over the place!

M said...

Thanks, I found one at the local Borders. Can you believe it though -- some people are already trying to sell these on eBay for nearly $50! Maybe I should have bought more than one. LOL.