Last week, PC Magazine announced that January 2009 will mark its last printed edition. They will be an all-digital publication in February. I don’t find this move at all surprising and expect to see most magazines make this transition in the next two years or so. It makes sense that computer-related magazines will be the first to do so. They were the first magazines to begin using the web, and that’s where the majority of their readers are. Considering the cost of printing and shipping, the timeliness of the internet, and even the increased public awareness of environmental issues, the move to digital is inevitable.
At one time, I was subscribing to Print, Communication Arts, and Macworld. It has been many years since I let those subscriptions lapse. I wasn’t finding time to sit down and read them, for one, and when I did, I was finding that I had already read the “news” on websites weeks before. The power of linking to related content; even the advertising is potentially more useful online.
Magazines aren’t going to become extinct anytime soon. There are some topics that are better suited to print. But we will soon find that all of the mass-market targeted publications will have taken the plunge. What we’ll have left are very focused, small-run magazines that target extremely niche interest groups (I hesitate to even refer to them as markets), most of which will really take advantage of the medium with fine papers, rich photography, large formats, and the like.
And with mobile devices beginning to come into their own, it’s the right time.