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Author Topic: Print or webzine?  (Read 6880 times)
Ed
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« on: February 12, 2009, 07:19:40 PM »

There seems to be an ongoing debate about which is the best medium for a magazine - print publications or online webzines. Many former print publications have decided to drop the printed word in favour of electronic publishing, so what's your preference - are you more likely to read stories published online, or do you find reading from a screen annoying?

What do you see as the pros and cons of both forms of publication?
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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2009, 07:35:39 PM »

Personally I would always prefer to be able to take something away from the screen - to be able to read a piece in my own time and not the time I spend at the computer. Flash fiction is something else though - it's easy to get through it on screen and doesn't take too long.
During the time I ran my own website creation company I attended a lot of seminars about how users gained information from websites (this was 8 years ago) and the studies at the time basically dictated that unless the website user was wholly interested in the site they would never scroll - the important thing was to make sure that anything of interest was presented on the viewable page - scrolling was too much of an effort and they would go elsewhere. What this means for ezines I don't know and now the computer is omnipresent, things have probably changed.
But during the times I have taken the train to conferences and training seminars I have spotted the odd usage of ebook platforms - that stuff that allows the user to treat electronic works as books, in affect. To my mind this is the way forward for electronic written pieces - the LCD/TFT screens on desks will never become the favoured media for reading for leisure.
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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2009, 08:23:06 PM »

You toss up the softball, and I'm going to swing Cheesy

Electronic has two forms, on-screen only and PDF. On screen can be copied and PF can be forwarded, so control is hard. If it's free, no real worries except for potential and somewhat mythical advertising dollars.

Print is currently preferred by most writers because of traditional publishing concepts that are ingrained in us "older" writers.

Readers vary by preference, but as electronic books improve and become less expensive and more common (text books is a great example of how to save $$), then more people will expect it over books. I think there will be paper books for quite some time, but there may come a time long after I am dead that paper books will be passé.

As a publisher, it is easy to understand why magazines are leaving print behind. The cost of a magazine to print and mail out is prohibitive. A publisher may end up making pennies per issue, or more likely lose money until they get above a certain number of subscribers (like say 1,000).

Books and anthologies actually stand a chance to make some money, but magazine margins are paper thin (ouch, I actually said it).  hiding


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Ed
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« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2009, 02:40:54 AM »

Nasty paper cut you've got there, Scott - you'll have to be careful it doesn't get infected afro

Personally, I prefer print over screen almost every time. The only time I cuss that something is in the printed form is when I'm trying to find a particular passage in a text and I can't use the 'find' feature. That's pretty rare, though.

I suppose most of us hope that at least something we write will outlive us but, as with all things internet, an online publishing credit (if there actually is such a thing) is almost guaranteed to evaporate into the ether within five or ten years. Printed mags might not fare much better in the wider world, true, but at least if you have a contributer copy you keep the bragging rights. So if one of your kids asks what type of thing you write or have written, you can pick up a hard copy from the book shelf and hand it to them.

The argument for digital media is quite compelling, given that you can store literally thousands of novels on a tiny little memory card. The same thing about obsolescence applies, though - formats change, so you have to keep upgrading. Anybody with a computer knows that. What's to say those thousand books can even be digitally recovered in ten years time? And ten years in the real world is a very short period of time.

Print has a feel, a smell - you can hold it in your hand and feel an attachment. It feels like it's worth something, even if it's not. You can take it pretty much anywhere. It doesn't need batteries, and you won't give yourself a concussion if you fall asleep while reading in bed and drop it on your nose.
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« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2009, 02:54:21 AM »

Print for me, every time. Partly because I'm still from the old school that likes to feel something real (same reason I'll still buy a CD rather than download the tracks), but mainly because I work on PCs all day long and the last thing I want to do in the evening is look at another screen. This is why I'm not a great TV watcher or a games player, and quite often why I'll write stories long-hand (and, alas, never ever type them up). It also explains a lack of attendance at sites such as this - the busier I am at work the less you'll see me online not only because of the time element, but because I just want to rest my eyes and avoid any more of those killer flat-screen rays...

I know there's an argument that you can print things off and read them, but the cost of cartridges makes  that feel prohibitive (even if it might not be in reality).

And on top of all that, I don't even need to make that choice at this point in my life. I have hundreds of novels, short story collections, and piles of real magazines awaiting my attention. I remember years ago when I was an avid Stephen King fan and read everything that he wrote, often buying the books in hardback on the day of release. When he released Riding The Bullet in e-Book form I downloaded it, downloaded the appropriate reader... and, massive fan that I was, never got beyond page one.

I suspect the current generation of kids will be very different!

Derek
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« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2009, 04:14:38 AM »

Always print, no question.

I like to read on the loo, in the bath, in the kitchen while cooking something that's splattering all over the place. Can't do any of that off a computer.

Old favourite books and magazines have a real physical presence. You don't get well-thumbed PDFs. You don't get that coffee stain on page 107 that reminds you of... a time, an experience, a smell, a taste.

Remember that Dr Who episode set in a library? Printed stuff. It matters.
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« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2009, 02:21:19 PM »


  It will always be print for me, I just can’t spend an hour or more reading from a screen. But I think the biggest downside to books and magazines disappearing , if it ever comes about, would be the loss of the second-hand bookshops. Looking through an electronic list of old stories ain’t got the same appeal as wandering around cluttered shelves whilst listening to an unknown jazz tune playing in the background. And then there’s the surprise of finding a 1959 copy of ‘Astounding Science Fiction.’ Computers just can’t replicate some things.         


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« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2009, 02:48:47 PM »

Reminds me ... must visit Hay-on-Wye again some time smiley

Books are so much more than just the words. I'd really hate to think that the Kindle was really the future. However, having said that, I'm quite happy to read anything under, say, 1000 words on a screen - and I quite look forward to getting my daily e-mails from Every Day Fiction and Every Day Poets. And as a writer, I do like to be able to link to all the stuff I've got out there - the internet is a great showcase.
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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2009, 07:51:50 PM »

What would be really cool, is an electronic book with smart pages. They wouldn't be paper, but would be a material that would show data like a monitor. I've seen stuff like this in SciFi shows and I can't believe it is that far off in the future. It would give the tactile feel, it could even be leather bound and all the electronics would be in the spine and covers. You would only need about 50 pages in it. Once you got to the back, you could either go back to page one and keep reading.

I need me some venture capital.
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« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2009, 12:18:07 PM »

What would be really cool, is an electronic book with smart pages. They wouldn't be paper, but would be a material that would show data like a monitor.

It's already available - it's called OLED paper - organic light emitting diode. You can roll it up like a scroll and the content of the "paper" can be changed just like a computer screen. The only problem with the first generation of this stuff is its longevity - I believe it needs to be renewed after somewhere upward of 10,000 screen refreshes. It doesn't take a lot of energy and once the pixels have been made active they stay that way - unlike CRT which needs to be refreshed at 70Hz or above to stop flickering.
If I recall correctly this type of display is making its way into mobile phones, etc.

There was a very good demonstration of this on the Royal Institution Christmas lectures where they unfurled a 20 foot long banner with scrolling text going across it. Don't think it takes too well to being folded though.

here's some stuff about it: http://komar.cs.stthomas.edu/qm425/01s/tollefsrud2.htm

Perhaps we'll start to see New Age Town Criers
« Last Edit: February 14, 2009, 12:23:10 PM by Woody » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2009, 01:12:54 PM »

I'd better get myself a proper book mark instead of dog-earing the pages in future then scratch
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« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2009, 01:14:24 PM »

Sounds intriguing, and full of potential, BUT it also sounds as if it would have the potential to go wrong. Printed books/magazines can't go wrong, short of being thrown on a bonfire or dropped in the sea. I have a book printed in 1706. It's perfectly clear and legible. Will any electronic device produced in 2009 still be perfectly legible in 2312? Or will some part have corroded? Decayed? Stopped working, and require some clever technical assistance to retrieve the data?
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« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2009, 07:03:38 PM »

mustn't have my stuff here, ed keeps it.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2011, 07:48:51 PM by Woody » Logged

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