Since I started blogging, my relationship with the many magazines in my life has become a lot more complicated. Sometimes I’ll finish reading one with the thought that I could find much better content, perhaps even presentation, online whereas other publications inspire admiration bordering on envy. Blogs and magazines are different animals, this is true, but not so unalike that they don’t merit comparison. All media shares certain qualities beneath the surface. These two happen to strongly resemble each other when viewed at the proper angle.
The angle I’m admiring right now is the paperless magazine. I recently discovered the adventure travel magazine Wend. The urban-minded adventurer in me cleaves naturally to this particular brand of content. However, as a web publisher, I’m more impressed with the amazing interface of the new paperless edition of the magazine.
Too often, paperless editions of paper media are clumsy pdf files dolled up to resemble something other than a graceless pile of pages. Content devoid of design misses the glossy magazine experience entirely. That’s why the Virtual Paper presentation of Wend Magazine is so amazing. The entire magazine is there, apart from the distracting subscription inserts, in a convenient web format. The sleek design, the vivid ads, even the comforting sound of pages turning have been preserved. In fact, with hotlinks and the possibility of other web-based functions, the experience is actually enhanced. All that’s missing is a pound of paper destined for the landfill.
The paperless magazine has arrived. True, a decent magazine reader hasn’t been released yet, but the more important concept has been proven… it may have been proven years ago for all I know. This seems like good news for magazines and consumers alike; it’s also good news for blogs or blog communities. After all, we’ve got content in buckets. We’re swimming in it. If printing isn’t an issue and distribution is managed through existing web paradigms, it has become that much easier to extend that content into the magazine sphere. True, there are tiny issues like editing, design, technology, and of course, ad sales to contend with. Apparently, magazine publishing demands a lot more than just a computer, thesaurus, and coffee machine. But I have seen the future of paperless magazines and it is beautiful. Can the inevitable I and the Bird magazine be that far off?