Why Esquire Magazine Is Your Future
Please, let’s not all get crazy at the same time. So many people are overreacting to the announcement that Esquire is using e-ink on their cover that I almost don’t know where to begin.
First and foremost, this is a clever magazine cover gimmick for a 75th anniversary cover. Period, end of story, except for all the brouhaha. They deserve to do something special. And e-ink is going to be something special. In this case it is under utilizing the power and the possibilities of e-ink, but what the heck? You have to start somewhere. And this year our industry starts here on the cover of Esquire with a flexible, magazine-bindable production of e-ink.
We as an industry have been inserting and on-serting for generations. Believe me, I know, as I was partly responsible for the AOL onslaught of on-serting and inserting first fragile plastic diskettes and then CDs into magazines. The computer and music sectors have been doing this for years. The women’s service groups have inserted hundreds of items including such nutty ideas as shampoo samples which, in the course of palatalizing, squished and squeezed the samples all over the printer’s bindery floor. So ease off on the condemnation that gimmicks are something new or distasteful.
And the same thing is true for the carbon footprint. Why is Esquire being singled out?
I’m the first to admit that we have been reckless as an industry when it comes to carbon foot-printing and inefficiencies, but to single out a single publisher … is pure and absolute rubbish. Anyone looking to condemn a single gimmick in a single magazine doesn’t know the industry, the history, nor the true story of magazine sales and magazine production.
E-ink, or e-paper, is special. In fact, it is very special, and it is an integral part of the future of our magazine business. If we are going to have a bright future at all, it is going to be digital. We will combine the ease of use of digital editions of magazines with the portability of brilliantly colored WiFi-connected e-paper, with a drastically lower carbon footprint than today and dramatically reduced manufacturing costs. What’s not to like? What part don’t we understand?
Publishers sell words and thoughts, not paper and printing. For those who need to hear me say it again, ink on paper is not going to go away; it is also not going to be the dominant distribution vehicle of information.