WSJ.com – Magazines Further Experiment With Print’s Digital Format
Sorry, but I’ve got to unload on this current revived infatuation with "digital" editions of magazines. For the past year and half I’ve been subscribing to the MIT Technology Review via Zinio — the technology that delivers a digital rendition of the print product into my PC via yet another content delivery system.
I get to "turn" pages, see the actual ads (my heart be still), search for text, and have fun playing with my very own "glass" copy of the dead-tree version.
It sucks. Let me repeat — it really sucks. It’s either a bone thrown to the Quark jockeys in the design department, a way to justify the big fee paid to the redesign firm, or some inter-generational stop-gap that makes the old farts who go around saying "I can’t read a magazine on the toilet" happy with their honest-to-god brave new world format. This is plain and simple a sop to advertisers and a stop-gap solution.
It’s wrong. It’s a kludge. If we must hang onto to our precious kerning and leading and big glossy ads, then let’s do it within the fricking browser. PDF the damn things and be done with it. Digital editions are so yesterday. Up there with the wonderful CueCat: as yet another desperate life-ring for the 19th century world of print.
I won’t slag Zinio. They keep drumming along. Mike Edelhart — my old boss at PC Week in the 80s used to run it. Now Scott Kauffman, ex-Time Warner and CompuServe is at the helm. I’m looking at Texterity for some custom publishing applications, and expect to get pestered yet again by some digital print stop-gap vendor.
Don’t bother. I’m looking over the hill at a post-pageview world and after a decade of butting my head against the print-online transition am too grumpy to care.