Many magazines are losing money on their print edition. Some, like Newsweek, have decided to go all digital, others are cutting back on the number of pages, others folding. A few offer both print and online with the online content making special features available to their readers not found in the printed version. Vogue is one such example. However, with the proliferation of tablets and digital readers, many people have become interested in subscribing to only the online versions as it is easier to carry these devices around and they hold more than one magazine. 

I subscribe to a high end glossy magazine for the art & craft of personal adornment. Ornament magazine reports on art clothing, jewelry and the historical backgrounds on both. The issues are full of beautiful photographs, both in the articles and the advertisements. Over the last year they have given the reader the option of subscribing to the digital version. Here are a few letters to the editor regarding the digital version:

“I used to have a paper subscription and I am thrilled to discover you have gone digital. It is cheaper and more quickly received for someone living in France” Claire Bangma, issue 35.4.2012

“…as a child of the 1960’s, I am happier diving into the print version. The photographs in the print version are so wonderful, no screen can do them justice.” Michele Owsley, 35.4.2012

“…I want to cuddle up with Ornament in a comfy chair, with a cookie, a notepad and a Dr. Pepper, not try to read on the computer…” Barbara Ward, 35.5.2012

I for one would not give up my printed version. In fact, I have over 20 years of back issues that I refer to when I need to do research on various ornament topics (or for ideas in creating my own jewelry or clothing). There is nothing like holding those glossy pages, putting stickies with notes on a page, and being able to pull these referenced issues quickly and easily for access.

And I leave you with this comment about going digital:

From Taking the Guilt out of Paper – Sapi Papers

“…carbon footprint of the magazine (National Geographic) is something he (Hans Wegner) can quantify, unlike the impact of the online version…”
“ ‘We don’t know the environmental impact of saving a document on a server for ten years or more’, Wegner says. ‘And we have no idea of the impact of extracting finite resources to make electronic devices that cannot easily be recycled safely and practically’. ”

Paper can be recycled but our landfills are being polluted with our castoff electronics. So which is better: Paper or pixels? Something to think about!


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