Over at Discover Magazine they have an article “How Big Is Discover’s Carbon Footprint?” that is a perfect justification for going paperless. At the end of the essay they campaign for the reader to recycle her issue of Discover Magazine, but I can’t help but wonder why they aren’t promoting electronic editions of their magazine. Sure, if you read the paper copy, do recycle it, but also consider switching to a paperless solution. Please read the article and try and imagine the impact that thousands upon thousands of magazines produced around the world has on the Earth.
Now that we have so many alternatives to paper I can’t help and wonder if the print publishing industry isn’t unethical. The linked article above does give an excellent picture of what goes into producing a magazine. I am currently a subscriber, but I plan on not renewing my subscription. Don’t get me wrong, Discover is a fantastic science magazine. I don’t want it to go out of business – in fact, I wished it was many magnitudes more successful because it provides valuable knowledge about our changing world.
Like I have pointed out, there are many ways to read a magazine other than by holding a paper copy in your hands. I discovered and read this article through an RSS feed I have for the magazine. I hope the publishers make plenty of money off the web edition because it easy and free to read. If there was a Zinio or Kindle edition I’d consider them too, or even an audio edition from Audible.com.
Zinio is an excellent way to read a magazine on your computer and have it look exactly like the paper copy. On my twenty-two inch Samsung 2253bw LCD monitor, the standard magazine requires no horizontal or vertical scrolling to view a two page spread. If I hold a paper magazine up to my monitor, it fits within the screen area, so the Zinio reader is perfect for the modern LCD screen.
What I would really like from Discover Magazine, or any other magazine for that matter, is a service rather than paper. Publishers should offer two methods of delivery: the free web based system paid for through advertising and a pay-for subscription service with extras. If I paid extra I’d want easy to read electronic editions, full access to all the back issues, freedom from online ads but get to see the original print ads, the right to email full-text articles to friends, and other imaginative marketing bells and whistles.
I have to say though, the free RSS feed is a pretty groovy way to read Discover Magazine – I just need to figure out a way to put a LCD next to the porcelain seat in the smallest room of the house and I’d really wouldn’t ever need a paper copy.