There has been an explosion of reading matter in various forms over the last couple of decades. The internet has billions of websites, full of news, stories, fiction and information on every topic under the sun, and despite printed books and magazines facing the challenge of e-readers and smart devices, they continue to thrive and serve an expanding market. Newspapers may have seen a decline in print circulation, but this is largely due to the content they print – breaking news is far more easily accessible online and is continuously updated, whereas papers are out of date the minute they have been printed. The printed word in all its modern formats has never been more popular, but what can an electronic magazine offer that a printed version can’t?
What they have in common
Online magazines are usually a PDF or similar version of the printed magazine, so reading it online will only differ by the format that you are using to access the content. Therefore, it’s more a case of choosing which format you prefer; the simplicity of the printed page or the convenience of the online version.
What’s good about online magazines
If you buy a printed magazine, you have to transport it, find somewhere to keep it and store or dispose of it once you’ve read it. Online magazines are accessed via a mobile device and need no carrying, storing or disposing of, except as a digital file. Online magazines often have extra content, interactive functionality and can use video and audio clips to enhance the experience. If you want to find a particular article, it’s easy enough to use a search function to locate exactly what you want, rather than having to wade through a pile of magazines only to discover that the one you needed was used to line the hamster’s cage. New aggregate services will give you access to a whole collection of magazines for a fixed monthly rate, so you can read multiple titles for a lot less than buying individual printed copies. You might also feel inspired to look at a different genre of magazines and give one a try, whereas you wouldn’t want to waste money on a printed copy of something you might not like.
What alternatives are there?
The internet is full of news, special interest and lifestyle websites that cover a myriad of different subjects. You can find all the elements that make up a magazine from browsing different sites, including puzzles, opinion pages, and short stories.
For many people, there is no substitute for holding a printed paper or magazine, and even with advances in screen definition some people still find it easier to read on paper. There are also some very good magazine-style websites like presscave.com that have all the same types of features as a traditional magazine but deliver them on a website rather than as a PDF document. There is also the argument often made against e-books that you don’t need a power source to read a printed book. That is true to a degree, but as long as the lights are on, online magazines are here to stay.