Five magazines are giving away subscriptions to five magazines on five campuses — not to the print but to digital facsimiles of the print — in an effort to get these darned kids to read mags. Paint me dubious. Reading PDFs or equivalents is a pain. Either go online fully or don’t. There’s no wading into this new world, only a deepend.

  • BW

    This reminds me of how I literally can’t stop the flood of free magazines I’m getting monthly. I let my Wired subscription expire because I was just lazy, and not only did they not stop sending it to me – I now get TWO a month. Yes, two of the same magazine I’m not paying for. Also, I recently started getting Details magazine. If I ordered that, it’s news to me. I didn’t renew my Money subscription because I figured they’d just keep sending it to me, but alas, no luck.

  • Greg P.

    I also think there is something to be said for the fact that they’re using proprietary software. Not only is it extraordinarily lazy to not work to bring students in as true “online” readers, but to use Zinio – a program that could charitably be described as a weak, proprietary facsimile of Acrobat Reader – doesn’t make much sense.

  • A priceless quote:

    There’s no wading into this new world, only a deepend.

  • OOo, just had an idea. Take your typical fashion mag which weighs in around 850 pages, 600 of which are smelly ads suffed with subscription offers. Now put the 250 good pages in a PDF with an easy way to just print sections and voiala, non geezers may like it.

    I bought a cheap laser printer and beat it to death because I just print out all of my favorite WSJ/Economist articles and make my own damn magazine. Now if only color laser was cheaper.

    By the way, people, stop using Adobe’s Acrobat Reader, it sucks. It is always running, always trying to update itself, always trying to add stupid components, always trying to update said stupid unnecessary components….
    Google for FoxIT reader, one less annoyance to worry about. Oh and uninstall Adobe’s Acrobat reader.

  • It’s nice to see someone with your standing say, “Reading PDFs or equivalents is a pain”. This has always been my belief and as a supplier of web technology and services to newspapers, I’ve dealt art directors and even publishers who seem more interested in showcasing their print layout capabilities then delivering their content to a new set of readers. Sales people “just want the ads online” and as cheaply as possible, often because they’ve already sold an online version of them (and being effective is not really a priority).

    We often do put PDF versions up with HTML but the studies I’ve done indicate that HTML is used far more than PDF. Readers seldom get beyond page 1 of PDF.

  • Stephen, can you give us an example and some figures ? Thanks.

  • There’s one huge flaw with this program – one of catastrophic proportions – and it’s not PDF (although PDF would be close). It’s called Zinio. It’s perhaps the most annoying, frustrating way to consume anything textual or visual. It’s a clunky application with a horrible user experience. A few college students will volunteer, but they’ll quickly lose interest in loading up the application. Zinio lacks any sense of interactivity and connectedness…when you’re on your PC and stripped of those capabilities, it makes the content feel broken. A good analogy is a TiVo user…once TiVo-enabled, all non-TiVO televisions seem broken.

  • K-Rick

    I’ve cancelled several Zinio-based digital subs because I can’t figure out Zinio (and I’m no PC newbie). It’s trying to be an electronic version of the print and that doan work. Onscreen on a good day you might get maybe 100 dpi resolution while typical magazine printing resolution exceeds 1200 dpi. You can simply put more detail on a paper page, the page is dot-wise 10 times “bigger”. HTML rendering is designed for screen display (in general) whle PDF tries to be an electronic view of paper. No wonder PDFs beg to be printed out for reading while few will print a web page just to read.