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Sunday, 29 May 2011

The Age Of Dead Trees, Dead?

While the impact of digital technologies upon newspapers in their printed form is well known, the future for printed magazines is also looking a lot less rosy.

John Bigg's review in Crunch Gear shows that New Yorker's iPad version has stayed true to its quality print style without being seduced by use of too much multimedia:

"There are no graphical tricks, not too many multimedia events, and when there are, they’re great (one poetry reading by Sherman Alexie in the latest issue was amazing). And even the ads are unobtrusive and, dare I say it, beautiful in full living color."

The nostalgia for print will pass as other technologies have done with each generation. While the tactile nature of paper and the slightly musty smell of a mildewed book will always have its adherents, history reminds us that such memories fade.

The demise of the vinyl LP teaches us that while content may remain enchanting and memory invoking, the format in which this content is presented need not, and will not, remain the same in perpetuity.

Ultimately it does all comes down to content.  If it's quality it will ever remain so, no matter what new format is adopted.

As Biggs says: "The New Yorker iPad app proves that great writing is great writing, no matter how it’s displayed. It is new wine poured into new wineskins: everything works, nothing is strange, and the product tastes as sweet as it did in the old skins."

The magazine publisher managed to persuade Apple to let its one million existing subscribers of the print edition of the New Yorker, download and read iPad version of the New Yorker for no additional charge.

The New Yorker publisher, Conde Nast, has said that iPad editions of its other magazines will also be available by subscription through Apple’s In-App Purchase system on the popular App Store. Watch out for Vanity Fair, Golf Digest, Wired and GQ (to name but four)  to become available in the near future.
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