"Food: Science, Art, Passion, Pleasure, Adventure & Exploration"

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Paperless Literary World

Digital print: Completely replacing traditional publishing?
I've yet to get an iPad, a Kindle, or any of the other eBook readers or related gadgets that are out in stores. I don't have anything against them, personally, it's just a matter of what my fiances will allow nowadays, and not yet getting around to buying any of this stuff.

It's hard enough to keep track of the lightning fast changes happening in digital technology every minute, especially in the realm of publishing.

For dessert, food, and beverage magazines, I tend to prefer a traditional magazine format. Well, I tend to prefer a hard copy for most of my reading. There's something very rewarding and visceral about holding a copy of a book or magazine in one's hands. Additionally, I love the smell of the pages and the sounds of flipping them over.

In the last few years, more print magazines have either folded entirely or gone totally digital...or they continue to fund both digital and hard print format if they and their sponsors can continue to afford it and evolve with changing dynamics in their core audiences.

Gourmet Magazine comes to mind. Gourmet's print magazine was taken off the market by Conde Nast at the end of last year. Why did they fold? Rumor has it that they just could not compete well with a changing audience that reflected recent economic changes and with increasing digital print publishing demands. They simply became out of sync and a lot of their advertising support was also tied into newspaper publications, which were also going out of print.

I recently discovered that there is going to be a digital app called "Gourmet Live" for the now defunct print magazine. The application will be available for iPad and other mobile gadgets. These app will allow users to download digital content, view videos, read articles, browse menus, and look at tons of photos. So it seems that digital apps are another new tangent that magazines, both current and former, are looking into to transition from or broaden to hard print to soft.

So what do my purchasing trends reveal? Well let's just say I have such a huge collection of food and dessert magazines that it's mind-boggling. Stacks of magazines and books dominant a great deal of my closet space and book shelves. I especially love collecting special editions of select food and dessert magazines whenever they are released. I find them to be visual and text-laden treats to gawk at, study, savor, and share with others when I am out of the house and about. I also appreciate the combined technical skills, layout and editing artistry, and literary contributions that go into developing a print magazine. The process behind this creative mosaic of expressed efforts should not become a lost art. So, my purchasing power also reflects a personal desire to support.

One of the magazines I read is Desserts magazine, which is exclusively an online publication. It's a fascinating and very informative magazine with tons of eye candy featuring dessert trends and recipes from all over the world, but I wouldn't mind an actual hard print copy of each edition or certain ones that I've greatly enjoyed in particular. 

Making it so that hard print versions are available for purchase is great for building a physical collection of magazines to thumb through anytime I want without having to log onto the computer.

With that said, of course there certainly are benefits to being paperless, too. No byproducts or waste, no clutter or
ever-growing stacks of magazines taking up space in one's house or apartment, and magazines basically are non-destructible when they are in a virtual/digital format. You can get unlimited copies from an original soft copy source.  

So, what do you think?  

Do you prefer to read your culinary magazines or books on a Kindle, iPad or any other eReader?

Would you ever go out and buy any of those new apps for your mobile toy?

How do you feel about the changes that the publishing industry is going through? Should all reading eventually become paperless?

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