Thursday, November 20, 2008

PC Magazine is no longer (in print)

Ziff Davis announced yesterday that they will end the print version of PC Magazine and make the title online-only. I have been a subscriber to PC Magazine off and on since college, at home or at work. My father, or one of his co-workers, used to get the magazine at his office when I was in high school and college, so I would read his copy and get the reviews of new hardware, software, and gadgets. For example, I remember first reading about Windows NT in a copy of PC Magazine when I was still in high school. Back then, of course, print was the only way to get this kind of technology news.

As I've become an avid online reader of all thing technological, I saw less need for a print version of the same information, especially when the printed news was several weeks old by the time I got it. But I would still read PC Magazine when I found it on a colleague's desk at work. I hadn't planned to become a subscriber again, but then I went to a trade show at the Javits Center and an attractive saleswoman from Ziff Davis talked me into a four-year subscription. What can I say? She was hot, and I couldn't resist. As Krusty the Klown said, "I'm not made of stone!" Also, at $10 a year for four years, it wasn't a bad deal.

But as I read each issue of the magazine, I thought about how much easier it would be for me to read the same information online, updated, with search capability and windowing. So when my subscription lapsed a few years ago, I ignored the renewal letters begging me to stay with them. I suppose you could blame me for the failure of the print edition, or lump me in with the rest of the subscriber base that abandoned the dying medium for the online version. But digital media is the present and future, so this was an inevitable step for Ziff Davis. Dropping the print edition is the right decision.

Now if only they'd streamline their web site. There's a lot of things going on there.

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