Technologizer

PCWorld Exits Print, and the Era of Computer Magazines Ends

The last of the big general-interest PC magazines is no longer a magazine.

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PCWorld

In the most interesting historic PCWorld photo I have, from late 1982 or early 1983, Bill Gates talks about MS-DOS 2.0 with PCW staffers. From left: Microsoft’s Chris Larson, PCW’s Steve Cook, Gates, Microsoft's Tandy Trower and founding PCW editor Andrew Fluegelman.

The news isn’t shocking. In fact, it’s sort of a shock it didn’t happen several years ago. After slightly more than thirty years in print, PCWorld magazine is ceasing publication, effective with the current issue, to focus on its website and digital editions.

If I have to explain why, you haven’t been paying attention to the media business for the past decade or so. The web has been awfully hard on magazines, and no category has suffered more than computer publications. Both readers and advertisers have largely moved online. Many of them did so years ago — especially the sort of tech-savvy people who once read PC magazines. At the end, PCWorld was about a quarter the size it once was in terms of pages and had lost two-thirds of its readership. I don’t even want to think about what had happened to its profits.

PCWorld

PCWorld

The last issue of PCWorld I worked on as a staff member, August 2008

I spent thirteen and a half years writing and editing for PCWorld, from 1994-2008, as an employee of its publisher, IDG. (It was called PC World back in my day, and I still wince slightly every time I type the name without a space.) So you might think I’d consider the news of the magazine’s end to be something akin to a death in the family.

Actually, it seems like an unalloyed good to me. IDG says it won’t lay off any employees as a result of the print exit; the PCW staff will now get to make PCWorld.com as useful as it can be, without being forced to tend to a publication which could never be what it once was.

I remain proud of the work we did at PCW, and feel inordinately lucky to have spent time there during the boom times for printed computer publications. But in 2013, with the possible exception of long trips on airplanes which don’t have wi-fi, I simply can’t think of a reason why anyone would want to read a monthly magazine about PCs and related products. And there’s no reason to feel sad about an obsolete product in the final stages of permanent long-term decline going away.

(Yes, I’m aware I work for TIME, a publication which still publishes on dead trees as well as on the web. I’m not arguing that magazines are obsolete, period. For a variety of reasons — subject matter, frequency, editorial turnaround time, advertising base — a newsweekly can still make sense in a way that a computer monthly cannot. But if this were easy, Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report would still be doing it.)

PCWorld‘s paper-based demise may be inevitable and, in a way, liberating. But it’s also the end of an era. Its arch-rival, PC Magazine — which, like PCWorld, was co-founded by David Bunnell, who started PC Mag with Jim Edlin and PCW with Cheryl Woodard — stopped being a magazine in 2008, though it seems to be doing fine on the web. Computer Shopper, another one-time giant, ceased publication a few months later in early 2009. Laptop, yet another long-timer, dropped print earlier this year. That left PCWorld as the last magazine standing which targeted a broad readership of PC users; if you’re feeling melodramatic, you could declare that the computer-magazine industry just died along with it.

That would be overstating things, but only a tad. PCWorld‘s sibling Macworld survives in print form, where it continues to compete with MacLife. Maximum PC, a magazine which caters to more of an enthusiast crowd than PCWorld ever did, is also still with us. But if you visit your local newsstand and check out the magazines you find in the technology section, you’ll see that almost all of the others are about highly specialized topics — such as mastering Photoshop — and are imports from the U.K., where the computer-publishing business isn’t quite so moribund. (In fact, the British edition of PCWorld, PC Advisor, will still be around, as will versions in numerous other countries.)

PCWorld

PCWorld

The first issue of what was then called PC World, from early 1983

In their day, though, computer magazines were some of the greatest success stories the publishing industry ever saw. Thanks to ads from the burgeoning PC industry, the first issue of PC World, back in 1983, was the fattest debut issue of any magazine up to that date. (Here’s a 25th-anniversary story on the publication’s origins.) PC Magazine, an even bigger cash cow than PCW, was once one of the country’s top ten magazines by revenue. Computer Shopper ran more than a thousand pages an issue for a while — nearly as many each month as PCWorld has lately been running in a year. There was a day when the market could support all of them, along with PC/Computing, Windows, PC Sources and scads of others.

I still think of all of those publications as second-generation computer magazines. The first generation got underway in 1975 with the debut of BYTE magazine, which would almost certainly win any poll of aging computer nerds who were asked to pick the greatest computer magazine of them all. (It ceased publication in 1998, and I just discovered that its recent revival as a website seems to be over, too.) I discovered BYTE a few years into its run, when our family’s mailman misdelivered a neighbor’s copy to our house: Rather than forking it over, I kept it and ate it up. (Please tell me that the statute of limitations has passed.)

BYTE

Wikipedia

The fourth issue of BYTE, December 1975

The first wave also included David Ahl’s wonderful Creative Computing (my bible in the early 1980s, and the first paying gig I had as a writer), 80 Microcomputing (a magazine for Radio Shack TRS-80 owners which was the template for PCWorld, PC Magazine and every other mag about a specific platform), Compute (famous for its type-them-in-yourself programs in BASIC) and many others.

In the age before the web, if you were serious about this stuff, you didn’t just read one computer magazine. You read several, and you probably couldn’t wait to get your hands on them. For years, I did most of my computer-magazine buying at Out of Town News in Harvard Square — an institution most famous as the place where Paul Allen bought the magazine which inspired him and Bill Gates to found Microsoft — and as I approached the computer-magazine section, I began to scan it for new titles from a distance.

Even after I got into the computer magazine business myself, I was a computer magazine fan. Monday was a big day: It was when InfoWorld and PC Week arrived via snail mail, telling me and everybody else what had happened in the industry during the previous week.

O.K., I’m done being nostalgic, at least for the moment. (I reserve the right to get all misty again the next time a computer magazine folds.) If you could have shown me the web in 1983, or even 1993, I would have cheerfully traded an infinite number of computer magazines for the chance to read an endless, endlessly diverse quantity of information about tech products, updated not once a month but all day, every day, for free. And today, as much as I once loved computer magazines, I wouldn’t trade The Verge, Engadget, All Things D, Ars Technica, Daring Fireball, 9to5Mac, ZDNet, TechCrunch and my other favorite tech sites to get them back. The golden age of computer magazines was glorious, but the golden age of computer journalism is now.

63 comments
kingsignco
kingsignco

No longer relevant as a Magazine! When they go digital, it is a sign that they can't afford to print, and distribute the rag. Now they are just hacks schilling on Yahoo, giving the doom bs for Microsoft.

HennyCoetzee
HennyCoetzee

Discovered by accident how to install windows 7, after installation windows is activated without going on line.Try to tell Microsoft about the floor, but they are not interested .Simply copy windows 7 on a flash drive not bigger than 8gb. Windows will install the 100mb hidden  partition on your flash drive where all your activation file are. check after all installed you will see windows is activated, no key gens or cracks

donrmckin
donrmckin

Since no one at PCWorld is going to respond to all (any) of the emails that are being sent, is there any interest in a class action program to get satisfaction. I can't believe that an excellent magazine such as this, has taken our money and walked away.

Leighmac
Leighmac

What about the subscription refunds, dispite 3 attempts still nothing!!!!

kaiserdr
kaiserdr

I like to READ my magazines and HATE digital! I can easily take a printed magazine with me wherever I go and read it at my leisure, which is what I did with the latest PC World. I noticed while on an airplane at 30,000 feet that they were cancelling my subscription. Knowing how magazine subscriptions work, when I got home today I went ahead and attempted to sign up for the digital subscription. I agree with joemando10, I paid cold cash for this magazine in PRINT and now they are attempting to force me to go digital! ABSURD! ROBBERY! Not only that, when I attempted to go ahead and get the digital, I could not get there without filling in a form to sign up for classes at an online university! I finally gave up and am now writing a letter to the publisher complaining. The whole thing SUCKS!

TheGoofy1ne
TheGoofy1ne

I am not happy with the move to Digital Only.  I think we ought to have both digital and print!  I enjoy my magazine.  I had an Ipad for a while and was scared I would lose it, drop it or leave it in the seat pocket of the plane, so I sold it.  Please bring the print issue back.  It is nice to have it on my iPhone but, I do not want to read the entire magazine on that device.

joemando10
joemando10

As a senior and recent (re)subscriber, I am not happy with print magazines going away and with digital being foisted on us on short notice.  I would prefer my subscription money being returned.  Talked to another senior last week who feels the same way as I do and he is  angry about PC World going digital.  He would like his money back too, he said.  We have enough stuff on our computers that require us sitting in from of them for too many hours.  Magazines give you the liberty of picking them up and reading at our leisure, something that you digital happy guys miss entirely.

RebekahEgresites
RebekahEgresites

I'll be cancelling the rest of my subscription. I don't have a tablet or ereader, and I have no interest in reading magazines online. I want to read them in bed, and not on a computer. I like paper. I was also irked that the page stuck to the front of my magazine didn't say anything like "Sorry."

RonDionne
RonDionne

I just cancelled my subscription, after being a subscriber for  the past 8 years.  

I used to look forward to the monthly magazine arriving in the mail box, to see the latest "computer jargon".  It was convenient to read, while in the car, waiting for the wife and kids to finish shopping.


I have 4 computers at home, 3 of them laptops, so I do have the portability.  But there is nothing like a "magazine" when you cannot be bothered to turn on the laptop, wait till it loads, then "mouse over" to a web site.  Oh well, life moves on (sometimes in the wrong direction).

DeWitt_Hawthorne_Periwinkle
DeWitt_Hawthorne_Periwinkle

"But in 2013, with the possible exception of long trips on airplanes which don’t have wi-fi, I simply can’t think of a reason why anyone would want to read a monthly magazine about PCs and related products." As much as I enjoyed Mr McCracken's article, and although I agree with much of what he writes, I still enjoy reading print publications on my daily commute on the New York subway, where public service announcements constantly remind riders not to display any electronic devices (yes, even cell phones) so as not to be a victim of a crime and, yes, looking around, it's pretty rare to see someone punching away on a laptop or a tablet. Besides, I agree with TrentF who enjoys having a print publication arrive in the mail and turning its pages. I spend all day staring at screens, at work, at home, and in volunteer activities, and the last thing I need is to stare at another screen in my leisure time. BTW, TrentF, I applied for my PCWorld refund at www.pcworld.com/support. And, yes, I dearly miss BYTE, the granddaddy (and the greatest) of the computer publications.

Tangent: as for newsweeklies, US News and World Report and Newsweek have both self-destructed, and Time is well on its way. As a result I have been reading The Economist for the last few years and enjoy its coverage, its even-handed reporting, and the quality of its writing.

DeWitt Hawthorne Periwinkle

gregzeng
gregzeng

Interesting to watch if any oldies are able to transition to the audio-visual realtime of Youtube, etc. ATM the TWIT publications on video & podcasts are creating stars, with emotions, spontaneity, etc. The drug-assisted pioneers (caffeine, nicotine, ethanol mainly) only last less than a few months. The heroes and survivors of tomorrow have yet to arise.

TrentF
TrentF

As a PCWorld subscriber, I feel cheated be this move and will be asking for a refund for the over two years I have left on my subscription. I spend enough time using digital devices. I enjoy having my magazine come in the mail and the quiet solitude when I have everything turned off as I turn the pages reading. Not everyone enjoys kindles, ipads, nook or whatever. This is a sad day and I hope I do not have to fight for my money back.

groovyBrian
groovyBrian

I was Executive Editor under Gina Smith when we did the Relaunch of BYTE -- byte.com. We had a cool plan of attack and were bringing back a lot of the original crew including the great Jerry Pournelle.

Unfortunately, the parent company didn't put in much support for it. They wanted to make it "Consumerization of IT" focused and tied it into InformationWeek heavily. So it really never stood on it's own.

In the right hands, a relaunch of a digital version of Byte would be incredible, and I am sure a lot of fans would subscribe. Time will tell...never say never :)   

RyanGrant
RyanGrant

"but the golden age of computer journalism is now."

 I can't think of a reason in the world to believe that's true.



navigator
navigator

Well, having recently perused my July issue of PCWorld, I'm sorry that the print edition will cease publication, especially since I renewed for two years last November.  I was reading computer magazines almost from the start back in the late 1970s...Micro Cornucopia Magazine, Byte Magazine, Dr. Dobbs Journal.  The print edition of Linux Journal ended a year or so ago not too long after I bought their 100-issue subscription offer.  I lived in what was the microcomputer publishing capital of the world back in the early 1980s, Peterborough, New Hampshire, with Byte and Wayne Green's stable of machine-specific enthusiast magazines employing many people in the area.  Since I wound up working in the "PC industry" my weekly stack of "controlled circulation" trade publications was probably a foot high.  They are all gone now, but like many others posting here, our memories of them and what they meant to us will last a long time.  Thankfully, good tech writers, like Charles Babcock and others are still with us and doing good work.

DonaldFrazier
DonaldFrazier

As another veteran of that era, with IDG and Ziff, gotta see this entire lovefeast as somewhat disingenuous if good for nolstalgia jones.

Sure, it's true these publications continue to live on the web, and continue to draw hundreds of thousands of readers.  Some of them even read pretty good too, though as a non-technologist I gladly defer to y'all.


What's different -- mind-blowingly different -- is the money part. In their prime PC, PC World, InfoWorld, and (the apparently unlamented) PC Week were cash machines, charging page rates that were impressive for right now let alone then. The people who made the computer publishing business, such as Bill Ziff and Pat McGovern understood they were asking advertisers to pay for more than technically expert readers.  They were paying top dollar to reach qualified corporate customers, and made a strong ROI case for the ad campaigns, based the strategic advantage that the products would confer on any company that found smart ways to deploy them first.

These rates paid for massive staffs with good salaries, labs, parties, and bar tabs in the thousands.  Some of this was foolish. but all of it made for a vigorous slice of the publishing industry and funded some true excellence in writing and production values, such as Pat Kenealy's Digital Review when it was in magazine form. 

Rates are just a fraction, often a tiny fraction of this now that the books are online.  What's worse is the decoupling of content to value.  In this new world, many publishers are just trying to load up the SEO engines with enough search terms to draw eyeballs to the ads, and have no real financial incentive to care what the text means.  Pay for remaining writers can be one-fourth, one-twentieth what it was except for a few superstars.  But maybe that's just desserts to helping build the world that made this possible.

JimEdlin
JimEdlin

Nice valedictory, Harry. Allow me to correct one small historical error though. PC Magazine's co-founders were David Bunnell and me. Cheryl Woodard, who was indeed a key person in the magazine's early success, was the third person to join our founding team, very shortly after the magazine's conception.

A bit more of the story: Tony Gold, who owned a then-prosperous mail-order software company called Lifeboat Associates, wanted to create a sort of "mag-alog" to market his company's products and also be a profit center in its own right. A mutual acquaintance introduced Tony to David Bunnell as a person who could lead that effort. The initial thinking for this venture was a magazine to be called "Software Guide," patterned on TV Guide, but covering personal computer software. At this stage, I was not involved in the magazine project, though David and I were partners in another venture. Things changed the day the IBM Personal Computer was announced. On hearing this news, David and I both instantly concluded that a "machine specific" publication for the new IBM product was a bigger opportunity than the Software Guide concept. (Machine-specific magazines focused on Radio Shack's TRS-80 computers and Apple computers already existed and were successful.) I proposed to David that we partner in doing this IBM-focused magazine, which he agreed to, and David then called Tony Gold to propose the change in direction. Tony was as enthusiastic about the idea as we were, and thus the effort to launch PC Magazine was born - with David taking the role of Publisher and I as Editor. Shortly thereafter, David recruited Cheryl Woodard, his then-colleague at Osborne McGraw-Hill, to lead the magazine's sales and marketing.

A postscript: A few issues into PC Magazine's life, David and I had a falling-out (as seemed common among founders of personal computer magazines - a similar thing happened at Byte) and I left the magazine to start a software company, though I continued to write a column for PC. When the PC staff walked out to start PC World, I was the only person connected with PC who continued to write for the magazine under its new owners at Ziff-Davis, who continued publishing my column for a while.

JohnBodden
JohnBodden

I really miss computer shopper. I remember when or was a huge book filled with ads for 1000 5 1/4 in floppies and 100's of shareware programs on one disk

ByteMarx
ByteMarx

We consume information differently now. But PCWorld, Byte, et al, were crucial to society's transformation from an information-starved post-industrial purgatory to a hyper-correlated Orwellian nightmare. As we leave you behind, we remember that we couldn't have done it without you.

LinuxBill
LinuxBill

I fondly remember those magazines.  I used to get and read them all.  It is a sad day that PCWorld is exiting the print world.  Then I know it is a good day too.  The rapid changing pace of PC information, software, hardware, and accessories requires faster delivery to consumers and those interested in such.  Digital will be able to accomplish that.

With that in mind I still say digital reading will not replace paper.  I can take a magazine or book or any other document with me anyplace I go and never need to rely on battery or device failure.  I can page through a book faster than any PC device can even display the next page.  I can find things in print much faster than even the best computers at work can search or take me there.


So even though I will not be able to buy PC World at my local news stand any more I doubt I will ever read it again.  I do not like being tied to my PC to read.  I never did  and never will.

I am sure what few of us still buy print magazines many of us will not be reading them on line.

twitwad
twitwad

I wholeheartedly agree about Byte, PC Week, Creative Computing, InfoWeek, and Compute!  I'd forgotten how much I looked forward to the arrival of the latest issue of all of these.  Since their demise I really miss getting a broader take on computing news.  Or maybe the news no longer is fit to print?  Being regaled with the clunky lumbering waltzes of today's giant corporations certainly lacks the parry and thrust of early computing's Davids and Goliaths.  Where have you gone, Peter Norton, DR-DOS, NeXT, Borland, and Amiga?

stuntmonkey
stuntmonkey

BYTE and Creative Computing were amazing magazines, absolutely formative for me. I loved that they were broad but also deep, written with an audience of computer scientists and geek hobbyists in mind. Also the industry was going through its Cambrian explosion then, and there were a lot of diverse things to write about from Commodore, Sinclair, Acorn, Tandy, Atari, and many others.

On a broader scale I get a little nostalgic for deeply researched content with high editorial value. The internet has done to journalism what cable did to TV: Fragment the audience into a vast number of micro-audiences, no one of which is worth much of anyone's time. I agree with the article, in most objective ways tech journalism is better now than it used to be. But still I miss the feeling of holding a magazine (or a book, or a newspaper) in my hands and feeling the true pride of craftsmanship come through.

5dogs
5dogs

Down here in New Zealand  PCWorld closed  and the July edition is it's last.   Pity as I like a paper copy, don't like reading this stuff on line  as I don't take a tablet every where I go  and a cell fone screen is too small.  Will have to find another paper PC mag..

bjdooley
bjdooley

Sorry to see the ol' rag go. I remember when it selected my shareware program, Flicker, as best of its type, albeit among many other best of types. That was around the time of the photo. It was a presentation program, possibly the first on the PC to provide a scripted multimedia (graphics, sound, limited animation) solution for presentations. Before IBM Storyboard, long before Powerpoint. A few months later, of course, everyone had one. Ah, well! But PC World kept us all informed of the state of play in the industry, and it will be missed.

JamesGerber
JamesGerber

Great article. I have fond memories to sitting in bookstores reading PC World. You mentioned Out of Town News, but for me, I was across the street at The Coop in the mid-90s sitting and reading every issue that came out. Truly the end of an era...

TyroneSmith
TyroneSmith

All that rag ever did was cheerlead for its advertisers. No big deal.

PacNW
PacNW

I see that at the end of 2012 PCWorld had a circulation of about 355,000.  PC Magazine went digital with a print circulation of about 600,000 in 2009.  You mention that it is doing fine on the web.  Do you know what its current digital circulation is?

You hit the nail on the head about the current problems in print (and even digital magazine/newspaper publishing):

"In the age before the web, if you were serious about this stuff, you didn’t just read one computer magazine. You read several, and you probably couldn’t wait to get your hands on them."

"In the age before the web . . . ."  One can usually get news and even evaluations faster and sometimes better via blogs, youtube evaluations, and technology news sites.  So, magazines and newspapers are more for those who like to read and browse at leisure.  And print magazines and newspapers are even more directed towards fun and leisure learning.  I find that I spend much less time reading digitally published magazines and newspapers than printed.  

I sometimes page through a free AAA magazine sent to me.  I don't think I've ever paged through a free magazine online.  I only access those via a search for specific information.  In other words, print is for leisure and fun as well as serious research and digital leans more toward just serious research.

I'm sorry to see PCWorld leave print, but understand that the loss in reading/subscribing public has economic impact.

JoeReader
JoeReader

"...a newsweekly can still make sense in a way that a computer monthly cannot." 

Nice save there, Harry. 

But the ugly truth is that the print version of Time is just as doomed as PCWorld, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, and all the others. It's just a matter of time. 

Tick tock, tick tock...



jeffmflanagan
jeffmflanagan

Computer magazines just don't make any sense now that computers are multimedia machines, and we carry tablets around with us.  Good riddance to a waste of paper.

Electronicbuff
Electronicbuff

Reading a print-on-paper edition was comforting.  I would tear out neat tips and save them for later.  The best through was reading in the tub or on the throne.  No more.  

I can't see myself accessing PC World on the Internet.  Out-of-Site = Out-of-Mind.  If I don't see the magazine I probably won't even think about it.  Good Bye PC World.  

I just filled for a refund of my prepaid subscription through Sept 2015.  Hope this on-line edition doesn't kill your production.  But then again I'll never know now.....   :(

jdragon69
jdragon69

@TheGoofy1ne  here is a question for everyone , if you collect all these on zinio server , you lose them if you cancel , that is theft , Iam a tech and refere to old magazines as you do , I keeps getting the run around from zinio  I wait for a answer that does not involve the supported theft  Extorsion  by law  jdragon69@techie.com

alphaa10
alphaa10

@groovyBrian 

We are ready for the relaunch of BYTE-- the trackless desert of content out here has created a huge demand for vendor-free editorial leadership. This post is seconded by legions of readers who miss BYTE.

harrymccracken
harrymccracken moderator

Reasonable people can and will disagree, and I acknowledge that there's a long list of things wrong with computer journalism in 2013, and plenty of bad stuff being published. And if you work in the induatry, it's not unreasonably to be discouraged by the fact that there are far fewer decent jobs to be had than their once were.

But I've been either a reader of computer journalism or a producer of it since 1978, and I think the best work being done today is, on balance, better, more useful and more interesting than at any time in the past. And the web is simply a better medium for covering a subject as broad, deep and fast-moving than a monthly magazine ever was.

harrymccracken
harrymccracken moderator

The best time to OWN an outlet for computer journalism was unquestionably in the 1980s and 1990s. And a decent chunk of the money that Pat, Bill Ziff and others made filtered into the editorial product. But I'm still in the game and still having fun.

alphaa10
alphaa10

@LinuxBill 

Please see my comments about the perils of screen-reading. The flat-screen, like the old CRT, is a technically-imperfect product that continues to take a toll of the nation's eyesight.

harrymccracken
harrymccracken moderator

@TyroneSmith Jeepers, but you speak out of ignorance. I worked there. Advertisers freqently pulled ads when they were unhappy with our content. They tried to use their muscle to get us to change stuff, and we ignored them. CompUSA refused to sell us for a time after we reported about our experiences with their repair service. You just didn't hear about it. (Usually -- see Wikipedia for evidence of how wrongheaded your theory is.)

harrymccracken
harrymccracken moderator

@PacNW I don't know what PCMag.com's audience is, but they -- like virtually all magazines which are on the web -- serve far more people online than they ever did in print. Finding people who want to read good content online has always been easy; figuring out how to make money at it is the bigger challenge...

harrymccracken
harrymccracken moderator

@JoeReader But I will say this, based on my experience in the publishing biz: Nobody who doesn't have access to a lot of data which isn't public -- such as the cost to acquire a subscriber and the profit per page of advertising -- is in a good place to say anything the least bit authoritative about the fate of a specific magazine.


There were plenty of people who were quite confident a dozen years or so ago -- including some who wrote for PCWorld -- that it couldn't last more than another year or so, simply because some of its competitors had crashed and burned. Instead, it went on being nicely profitable (at least as of the time I left). The factors involved in the ongoing viability of magazines can be wildly different, even for publications in the same category.


If you have access to the nitty-gritty of TIME's financials, you might be able to guestimate what will happen to the magazine in print form over the coming years. (When I left PCW five years ago, if you had taken a poll of the management on how long the magaazine might last, I suspect the consensus would have been "about five years".) If you don't, you can't.

TrentF
TrentF

@Electronicbuff  I also have requested a refund of my subscription that is paid in full until September 2015. There is something different when you read using a tablet, I do not find it as enjoyable and sometimes need a break from all of my electronic devices.. 

jeffmflanagan
jeffmflanagan

@Electronicbuff If you're spending enough time on the toilet to read, it's time to talk to your doctor.  It's a pretty quick process for healthy people.

alphaa10
alphaa10

@harrymccrackenAgain and again, readers make unmistakably plain they would like the option of paper in a publication. Of course, paper costs more, but readers who want paper are willing to pay, and-- literally-- have subscribed to that idea, already. 

There are many reasons for paper, not the least of which is the typical reader's eyes find screens uncomfortably brighter than the printed page, which accounts for a growing population of squinters. Another factor might be that flat-screen fluorescent bulbs emit ultraviolet radiation. Eyestrain is never a good thing, and for those in magazine publishing, it can be fatal to continued good eyesight. 

Put another way, millions of readers find paper not only useful but even fascinating in its way. If paper were a new medium, we would find people staring at a paper issue-- color photos and all-- with fascination like one of Gary Larsen's cartoon cavemen, poking a paper book with a stick.

While we must agree digital publishing is here to stay-- replete with its massive set of editorial advantages-- much work on the screen-reading environment remains to be done. While Barnes and Noble's Nook and Amazon's Kindle are promising efforts in that direction, there is still a place for paper, and readers will welcome the publisher who rediscovers the paper market is viable, after all.

omgwtfbbq69
omgwtfbbq69

@harrymccracken @TyroneSmith Agreed.  Readers have no idea how many arguments, pulled advertisements and other bully type threats vendors use when journalists try to tell the truth.  It's a constant battle.  As a publisher at one of those new fangled tech web publishing websites, we spend many hours each week defending journalistic integrity.  Latest crack in the firewall is 'native' advertising.  Watch out for that if you want to get angry about cheerleading.... just know it isn't the journalists who are doing this, it's the vendors.

alphaa10
alphaa10

@harrymccracken@PacNW

Then you may also agree that content creators ( writers, editors ) have difficulty making money with digital formats. This cannot be a good thing for content, itself, as the basis for all publication.

Whereas in the parchment days, the difficulty of printing legibly guaranteed that almost anything worth printing would be important, today, distribution is easy, but finding worthy content to fill the vacuum is a constant problem. Publishers must be willing to pay appropriately.for good content.


* BTW, Harry, please make clear to the coders for this site that the "Time Remaining for Edit" indicator at screen bottom seems inaccurate. With about one or two minutes remaining, the screen suddenly refuses further input, posting a red-paneled warning about a "problem". We need an accurate display as a means to gauge our efforts.

Electronicbuff
Electronicbuff

@TrentF  

I got a check in the mail for $1.87 (I'm paid through Sept 2015).  

I called to see what was up with the tiny refund for 2 more years.  The girl on the phone said the $1.87 was for my old subscription and the renewal I paid for will be charged back to the CC that was used to purchase it. It will take another billing cycle until I see the refund.

From all of the objections I'm seeing in this forum and in others I wondering if they really checked with their subscribers first.  They are losing a lot of customers over this one.

Electronicbuff
Electronicbuff

@jeffmflanagan  

The articles are short. If one read cover-to-cover like you're implying I guess this would be a problem.  I also read why soaking in the tub, I don't care if it gets damp or wet. Try that with your tablet and see how long it lasts.  If a page of a book gets wet who cares, you get a new one next month.  If your tablet gets wet your screwed.

mdelvecchio
mdelvecchio

@jeffmflanagan @Electronicbuff not at all. some people enjoy spending "time out" from the rest of the world and reading an article. with mags gone, try it now w/ an ipad mini -- it's light enough to not be a burden.

Electronicbuff
Electronicbuff

@TrentF 

For anyone looking their direct call number is 1-800-234-3498 or you can use their electronic method like I did and wonder if it actually went anywhere.