Print 36 comment(s) - last by Oregonian2.. on Dec 7 at 8:25 PM

PC Magazine will produce its last print issue in January 2009

It's no secret that the internet is making it very hard for print magazines and newspapers as more and more turn to the digital medium for their news. The cost to print and distribute print publications is getting more and more expensive at a time when many print publications are seeing subscriber numbers dwindle.

One of the most popular and venerable technology publications, PC Magazine, has announced that as of its January 2009 issue it will no longer be a print magazine. The magazine will continue with the same format readers are used to according to Editor-in-Chief Lance Ulanoff, but will only be available in a digital format.

PC Magazine will be published using the Zino digital system. With Zino, the digital publication will look like the print magazine did with the added benefit of being much more interactive. The Zino reader even lets users turn the pages.

The digital edition of the magazine will eventually offer rich media options like slideshows of product images or videos of reviewers giving tips alongside a review. The magazine will be printable according to Ulanoff. The digital transition will also make the magazine searchable and the table of contents will be live allowing users to click directly to articles they want to read.

Readers who like to peruse print magazines as much for the ads as they do the written content will still be able to view ads, just as they did with print versions. It's not hard to figure out why the transition was made, but Ulanoff spells it out clearly in a post on the PC Magazine website saying, "… the decision to stop producing a hard-bound copy was not an easy one. But the reality is that the ever-growing expense of print and delivery was turning the creation of a physical product into an untenable business proposition."

Current subscribers of the print magazine will be shifted to the digital version after the January issue. Apparently, the magazine will carry on as a subscription publication with the same subscription rate.

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How times have changed...
By Indianapolis on 11/25/2008 1:45:23 PM , Rating: 5
Anybody else remember when Computer Shopper was as thick as the Bible, and had the footprint of a small refrigerator? Back then, it really was all about the ads, since we didn't have the world wide web. I still have a closet at my parents' house with a bunch of those old magazines.

RE: How times have changed...
By Pneumothorax on 11/25/2008 3:12:54 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah I miss those ads with a 8088-10MHz 512KB RAM PC Compatible TURBO with a Seagate HUGE 20MB MFM hard drive, 5.25 360K Double sided floppy!, and of course a free Hercules Compatible mono graphics card running of the ISA 8Mhz bus (Of course with a RLL controller you can get 30MB!) All for $999! GOOD TIMES!

RE: How times have changed...
By Pneumothorax on 11/25/2008 3:14:12 PM , Rating: 3
I also miss "Parking" the hard drive before turning off ROFL

RE: How times have changed...
By gerf on 11/25/2008 3:46:40 PM , Rating: 2
I had to use the comman HDSIT. I suppose that'd be the same.

RE: How times have changed...
By Clauzii on 11/25/2008 5:24:02 PM , Rating: 4
I remember that. In DOS we wrote PARK, and the whole drive sounded like a nutcracker, which sounded more like destroying rather than protecting the HD. I still have a 20MB in a IBM PS/2. Pure nostalgic, but it works :D

I also saved a copy of my first 'virus' ever. One evening a lot of years ago, I was programming some rotating 3D-cube-mesh in TurboPascal when suddenly the letters began dropping down to the bottom of the screen. I was shocked! And then this little man came in and brushed all the letters out the side. Hillarious :D No harm done though.

Computers have come a long way, I think!

RE: How times have changed...
By kattanna on 11/25/2008 3:34:39 PM , Rating: 2
yeah those were truly awesome for their time.

RE: How times have changed...
By mmntech on 11/25/2008 5:14:17 PM , Rating: 2
I found an old Macintosh magazine from the late 80s in my basement a couple years ago. Good times. I think somebody "accidentally" through it out though because I haven't seen it since. We used to always have a Mac. I got my first PC in 1998. I think it cost almost $2000. It's quite remarkable to think that my cell phone has at least two or three times the computing power of that, and double the storage and RAM. Not sure how the ARM11 compares to the ol' PII.

RE: How times have changed...
By PrinceGaz on 11/25/2008 7:48:22 PM , Rating: 2
I subscribed to Computer Shopper during the early to mid 90's and certainly do remember the size of it. I wouldn't want to get hit over the head with a rolled-up copy of it, but it would be quite effective used as a club in an emergency.

RE: How times have changed...
By FaceMaster on 11/25/2008 8:28:25 PM , Rating: 2
...You could roll a magazine of that size up?

RE: How times have changed...
By codeThug on 11/25/2008 8:28:42 PM , Rating: 2
If you can find a gorilla big enough to roll it.

RE: How times have changed...
By pugster on 11/26/2008 12:53:07 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, computer shopper was THE magazine for geeks at the time over 800 pages with size of 10x15". I remember that it took a whole day to read that magazine. Now I can finished reading that magazine within a potty break.

RE: How times have changed...
By Belard on 11/26/2008 12:53:31 AM , Rating: 3
I still remember a PC company advert which had a cute "naked" woman posing behind a Computer (Back when typical PC & monitors were huge).

I think I kept only 1-2 issues, they sucked up so much space.

I still have my OLD OLD Amiga magazines... One of them - was actually using Amigas to publish the mag... before Macintoshs were used for a professional print product.

RE: How times have changed...
By marvdmartian on 11/26/2008 10:59:26 AM , Rating: 2
Of course, that was also during the 90's, when you couldn't swing a dead mouse by it's cord without hitting a dot-com company! With the death of so many of those, the advertising also went away.

I remember my first computer, bought online via Computer Shopper advertisement. A year or so later the video card was going out on it (3 year warranty....another thing you don't find stock on computers!), and I contacted them. They said, "Send us the tower, and we'll replace it". I told 'em I was too far away, and couldn't see living without my computer for the better part of a month, couldn't they just send me the replacement card? "Okay," they said, "but we'll have to authorize the value of the card on your credit card. If we don't get the old card back, we'll charge you for it."

That was a Matrox Millenium 4mb card, and they would've charged me $400 if they didn't get the old one back for RMA!! I got the replacement card, installed it, checked to make certain everything was good (it was), and boxes up & sent them the old card. Imagine my surprise a month later when it came back as undeliverable! In the month since I'd called them, the company had gone out of business!!

Luckily, they didn't charge my credit card before they went tits up. I still held on to that computer (200 MHz Pentium) up til a few years ago! ;)

should'nt it be cheaper?
By poohbear on 11/25/2008 6:34:51 PM , Rating: 3
Apparently, the magazine will carry on as a subscription publication with the same subscription rate.

shouldnt it be cheaper after going digital??? the printing, binding, publishing, and distribution costs no longer exist.

I dont understand this, especially w/ video games that u download. there's no box or manual or even physical distribution for the company to worry about, so why does it still cost the same?!?!

RE: should'nt it be cheaper?
By Oregonian2 on 11/25/2008 9:18:45 PM , Rating: 2
They should lower the price in order to maintain the same amount of losses by the company? Not sure why they'd want to do that.

They're not the resource powerhouse they once was, that's the sad part.

I've now a zillion years on my subscription with the reduction of publication frequency. The cost of the subscription was very low, and is a primary reason for my subscription -- and that was after having a completely free year of subscription.

I'm not thrilled about going electronic even if that's not surprising. I just liked having a printed version that doesn't have me sitting in front of my computer when reading it.

Having a Kindle version isn't a bad idea, but magazines aren't the kindle's strength (books read front to back are).

RE: should'nt it be cheaper?
By jonmcc33 on 11/26/2008 7:41:46 AM , Rating: 3
They should lower the price in order to maintain the same amount of losses by the company? Not sure why they'd want to do that.

Same amount of losses? They gain money even if they cut price if half. They can cut personnel and production costs by going 100% digital. No longer need to pay people to get it magazine format read. No longer need to pay to get it printed. No longer need to pay to get it shipped. No longer need to pay distribution company for services, etc.

Heck, they still toss ads in the digital version too.

In reality, 10% of the cost of a magazine goes towards profit. The rest goes towards everything else to put it on the shelf for you.

RE: should'nt it be cheaper?
By Klober on 11/26/2008 3:15:08 PM , Rating: 2
Same amount of losses? They gain money even if they cut price if half. They can cut personnel and production costs by going 100% digital. No longer need to pay people to get it magazine format read. No longer need to pay to get it printed. No longer need to pay to get it shipped. No longer need to pay distribution company for services, etc.

Heck, they still toss ads in the digital version too.
I agree, keeping the subscription cost the same is complete BS when it comes to costs. The costs required to put out a digital version versus a printed version aren't even in the same league, besides the convenience factor of being able to bring a magazine nearly anywhere .

Does PC Magazine really think their target audience - mostly intelligent and computer/Internet savvy people - is going to stand for the same subscription price when they are exactly the people that understand there should be a relatively significant cost reduction associated with cutting out the printed version? I personally doubt it which means that unless PC Magazine reduces their subscription prices they are going the way of the Dodo in the relatively near future.

That's my 2¢ anyway...

RE: should'nt it be cheaper?
By Oregonian2 on 12/7/2008 8:25:53 PM , Rating: 3
I might point out that your two cents is in the price class of PC Magazine. If one looks for discounts, PC Magazine was/is a very inexpensive magazine -- they even gave me a free year subscription with no strings attached (other than getting an offer for a paid subscription at the end of it).

They've already cut their expenses by firing everybody, which is why their content is mostly a handful of column-writer stuff.

Yes they could cut their subscription prices by half (the free I had doesn't really save much when cut by half though) and lose less money or even break even with their current skeletal staff. I'd like them to get profitable and expand back toward where they were in the past -- something with resources behind the articles.

so is it really a magazine anymore?
By Samus on 11/25/2008 1:23:51 PM , Rating: 2
PC|MAG anyone?

RE: so is it really a magazine anymore?
By Screwballl on 11/25/2008 1:28:09 PM , Rating: 2
yes just a digital/online magazine... like DT, anandtech, and many others are digital magazines of sorts.
Although on the downside, when most of the same information can be found online for free, I foresee PCM swirling the drain and going to a free site with advertising must like the rest of the tech review sites.

RE: so is it really a magazine anymore?
By stevenplatt on 11/25/2008 1:43:35 PM , Rating: 2
I have been using the "Zinio" system for a while. It works very well and along with ebooks, looks to be the future of todays print based media.

I am not at all surprised that PCMag is having trouble. Not only can you find the same information free on the web, but competitors such as Maximum PC are already making their once print-only material available for FREE as a downloadable PDF on the web.

RE: so is it really a magazine anymore?
By Screwballl on 11/25/2008 3:48:59 PM , Rating: 2
Yes but MaxPC went to crap a few years back when they decided to make 60-85% of their magazine advertisements, and the remaining articles may as well be ads for the last of bias.
I had a subscription I got for a gift that ended a month or two ago and I just skim through them and read a few key areas and then toss in the shredder and use for fireplace fuel.

I foresee MaxPC and several other print magazines going the same way, online only.

By Omega215D on 11/26/2008 12:11:04 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, lately MAXIMUM PC is getting thinner in the articles while their website contains much more in depth with reviews like the one for Left 4 Dead. I still have a use for the magazines... such as when going to the male reading room. It pisses me off though that when I had a subscription the magazine was at a bookstore earlier than in my mailbox. PC Gamer is also going down and I have no idea where Games for Windows went (I forgot their old name). PCWORLD is the only magazine that I feel is a piece of garbage but it's still on news stands and seems to be selling. They were good in the old Socket A days but fell apart a year after.

Long Time Reader
By knipfty on 11/25/2008 2:54:07 PM , Rating: 3
My subscription goes back to 1984! I was disappointed when they switched from twice a month to one a month printing, but at least they pushed my subscription out to 2013.

This though I am not happy with at all. Reading a magazine is fundamentally different than reading on a PC. I don't take a computer to the gym when I'm on the treadmill; nor do I take a PC to the bathroom, or even on the train very often.

So no, I am not happy, but have little choice but to give it a try. Maybe they will have a Kindle version...

RE: Long Time Reader
By Spivonious on 11/25/2008 3:18:33 PM , Rating: 2
Kindle can't do images or color. If it could, I'd have one by now.

RE: Long Time Reader
By Oregonian2 on 11/25/2008 9:10:21 PM , Rating: 2
That's what I thought too. The very same thing. But my mother gave me a Kindle for my birthday almost a month ago (and she's a semi-luddite who got excited by Oprah's "promotion" of it oh her show). I actually declined her offer of it to begin with saying those very same thing, but she convinced me to take her free gift of it. My opinion is totally changed. To my surprise, the Kindle is AWESOME despite those restrictions (does images, but only B&W and of limited quality). And I'm someone with electronic toys up the ying-yang.

The big thing of it is that it doesn't "feel" like a little computer-toy running book-reading software (which it technically is). It has the "feel" of a book that happens to be electronic. The built in EVDO 3G sprint dataphone is just an internal thing rather than an explicit feature as such (and it's "free", no monthly payments anywhere... and one can access the web with it).

By wwwebsurfer on 11/25/2008 2:04:35 PM , Rating: 3
I think you mean Zinio (digital mag corp.) not Zino, a cigar manufacturer...

RE: Correction:
By killerroach on 11/25/2008 2:16:03 PM , Rating: 3
Their way has a better aroma. :)

turnable pages?
By Murloc on 11/25/2008 3:04:44 PM , Rating: 3
I think that an online magazine with pages is just unreadable, if they go online they should be like dailytech and other online-only sites, it's much better.

By Staples on 11/25/2008 1:24:00 PM , Rating: 2
I think their deal for print has been $13 for 12 issues or possibly even less. It is a sign they were having a hard time selling them.

Since they have gone all digital, I wonder if their content will make a change as well to non novice oriented stuff. It makes sense since they will be competing with new competitors.

By Smilin on 11/25/2008 1:44:26 PM , Rating: 2
Awesome! That opens the possibility of many millions of people not reading the magazine instead of the few millions not reading it before.

Now PC Magazine can be irrelevant in an even greater way!

Dear PC Magazine
By gochichi on 11/25/2008 4:23:33 PM , Rating: 2
Surely there is some way to continue a print based subscription. I mean, as has been stated, Zinio reader is for magazine layouts. So it's not like all the formatting etc. would have to be done just for the printed subscriptions.

Here's what I'm saying. Why would we print them at home when it would be expensive, ugly, and a sluggish mess? There are enough people in the country that want a printed copy. So come up with a price and give us that option.

So long PC Magazine, I will miss you.

By audiomaniaca on 11/26/2008 5:09:00 AM , Rating: 2
OMNI, Nibble, A+, Macuser, Compute!, anyone?

Remember When...
By sarthurn on 11/26/2008 5:53:18 AM , Rating: 2
PC Mag, back in the late 80's early 90's used to be 900 pages - or there abouts - and showed a zillion different printer picts, so you could judge how well a DOT MATRIX printer printed pix? Now they don't show, but tell.

Find it kind of crappy that they are charging same rate for digital...I canceled my SUB a few years ago, when the mag changed to once a month, and was as think as a couple sheets of paper. What will Dvorak (sp) do? Loved his rants and raves...

Sign of the times.

I agree with everyone on MaxPC.

Amazing how in a few short years where we have come. Media is changing, newspapers and magazines dying...they can find out everything you want a month before you get the same info in the mail - but I do like HOLDING a book / mag over reading on computer - even though I already know what they are going to say...

I just hope, but know it wont be true, that they wont make their online Zino edition full of hyperlinks for ads to buy this and that...bad enough that TomsHardWare did this, nothing more than ads for whatever they are reviewing, and now is so infrequent...

The glory days are truly over.


about time
By Chernobyl68 on 11/26/2008 4:04:23 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly, it always seemed to me that anyinformation or article that appeared in this magazine was either several months out of date or geared for people with little to no experience with computers. My first though after seeing the title of this article was, "are their readership savvy enough to read it online?"

Computer Power User
By Morphine06 on 11/26/2008 7:16:12 PM , Rating: 2
I never found PCMag worth buying. I just flip through it at the grocery store and cull any worthy information in a minute or two.

The only tech magazine in print today worth reading is CPU IMO. It's actually FULL of articles and opinions from people of various websites/ages/specialties. I'm happy to pay for a subscription when I find a good deal.

I had a Maximum PC subscription. There are only so many issues one needs about how to copy your music collection. =/

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