Monday, February 27, 2006

Belgian newspaper to become first 'paperless' daily

Belgian newspaper to become first 'paperless' daily

Irex and their parent, Philips, are approaching this the right way in an industry that is so fearful of a change in medium: all you newspaper men and women, this little technology will save you from paying for all that paper. Nothing like a good clear business incentive to get business leaders to take notice. Now when are magazine executives going to realize that content and relationship with readers is what is important not the ecologically unsound medium.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Circulation Management : Costco Update

Circulation Management : Costco Update

This may look like another deal. But it is really another nail in the coffin of printed magazines in the United States. Cosco, one of the largest retailers in the US will be selling magazines at a 20% discount in stores, with a full return policy. This is equal or more than the deal many retailers buy printed magazines for. Additionaly, publishers will be paying at least $24.50 per placement at each Cosco, when the already exagerated price for celebrity titles at supermarkets has recently reached $20 a pocket (placement).

What does this mean? Major chains are going to demand the same deal (discount and placement costs) that Cosco is getting. This is desastrous for national distributors and publishers. Also, retailers will be incentivised to go buy from Cosco rather than their traditional source: the wholesalers. The newsstand business in the US was built on these small suppliers, but now they will take a major hit.

In the end, the customer wins, and I see nothing wrong with that. But, it's hard not to shed a tear for a dying industry that has supported the press, including at times the independent press. These wholesalers and national distributors are slowly dying, this is only one of the recent examples of this downward spiral, and with them mass market printed periodicals are gasping for air.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

More ILIAD images - IRex to use Wacom's digital pen technology - IRex to use Wacom's digital pen technology

The ability to highlight text, cut out articles, and store them for later reading. Irex's focus on software functionality for the ILIAD may give it some edge against Sony. It seems that Sony prefers to focus on content and the large amount of it that will be able to be bought, downloaded and read on their READER.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

New e-readers on the market - initial attempts at e-paper gadgets

There are 2 e-readers that are about to be available on the US market: Sony's READER and Irex's ILIAD. They are early ventures in e-paper and a far cry from the killer-app needed to convert the masses into believers. What we need is a large (at least 8.5 x 11) single or multi sheet e-reader, that offers high resolution color images and video. It needs to be light weight, flexible and bendable, and readable in any light conditions.

But this is the beginning.

In Spring, we will get for less than $400 a rigid, monochrome e-player that will be perfect for reading digital books, newspapers and magazines as long as most, if not all, of their content is text. On the other hand they are light, need very little battery power becaause of their inherent technology, and offer a sharp, high contrast, screen that has no internal light source and therefore is perfectly readable with ambient light without straining your eyes.

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Future of Magazines

What is the future of Magazines? Most are scared to discuss it, but this does not have to be the case. What really is a magazine? Does it have to be printed, does it have to be periodic? How will e-paper and digital readers change our page flipping. This is what I am interested and this is what MAGFUTURE will be about...