November 24th, 2004


Screen Time

In the dark ages (before Windows XP), I worked in electronic books and learned far too much about on-screen reading from academic studies, focus groups, and test labs. The more I saw, the more I thought that paper periodicals were doomed in the long run. Electronic text was just *better* than paper for most purposes, outside a few niches such as reading offline. With the onset of ubiquitous wireless, I figured that paper newspapers and magazines would soon become the poor cousins of electronic text media. Now, Wired has caught up with me in a "Young people don't want paper anymore" article. It's about time they figured it out. The killer grafs:

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None of these periodicals strike me as being willing to abandon their paper editions just yet. This worries me a little, because I know a good many folks in the biz, and over time the paper editions will become less and less viable. Taking Paizo as an example: I'd like them to stick around, thrive, and make the transition. Their current web presence is fairly thin, consisting mainly of messageboards, without any daily updates of content, without online advertising, and without archived copies of the magazines. In other words, the web site isn't good enough to make my bookmarks list, though I do stop by once a month to see what's new on the boards.