PC Magazine: A Magazine No More

By  |  Wednesday, November 19, 2008 at 1:34 pm

pcmagazinefirstThe world didn’t really need another piece of evidence to show that most folks like to get their information about technology online, but it got one today anyhow: Publisher Ziff Davis is ceasing print distribution of PC Magazine, the dominant computing publication for much of its 26-year existence. The issue with a January cover date will be the last one printed on dead trees, a victim of declining ad sales and increasing costs for paper and postage.

PCMag.com will live on and has a good chance of doing well for a long time. And in an interesting twist, Ziff will continue the Zinio version of PC Mag–a digital version that has the look and feel of the print edition, but which is available only in digital form. (I wish ’em luck with that experiment, but I suspect that this is an intermediate stage in the life of PC Mag, and it’ll go Web-only sooner rather than later.)

It’s impossible for me to contemplate this news in the absence of the fact that I spent almost fourteen years at PC Magazine‘s principal print and online rival, PC World. (Where I’m no longer an insider, but I wouldn’t be stunned if PC World existed in print even after PC Mag ceases Zinio distribution as well.) In the media world, it isn’t exactly fashionable to say you like print publishing, but here goes: As much as I love the Web, I’m a print fan, too. And I’m sorry to see the powerhouse I spent so many years competing with going away in its most famous form.

On the other hand, having spent so many years working on PC World in both print and Web versions, I know that it’s awfully hard to straddle two very different media and do justice to both of them. I suspect that PC Mag editor Lance Ulanoff and his staff are feeling liberated in some ways today–without print deadlines to worry about, they’ll have some opportunities to do some cool new stuff on their site.

I have more to say, but I’m dashing off for a meeting–in the meantime, here’s an article by PC Mag cofounder Cheryl Woodard on the origins of the publication (including its fascinating relationship to the founding of PC World).



7 Comments For This Post

  1. NanoGeek Says:

    I hope PCW doesn’t cancel its print version.
    It’s handy to see all the big stories in one magazine.

  2. David Worthington Says:

    I’ve worked both online and in print; print is something special. The Web won’t displace everything…at least some publications will continue to run in print.

  3. Cathy Says:

    So PC Mag joins a long line of publications that have bit the dust in their print incarnations, joining US News and the Christian Science Monitor. In my new job we keep rather good statistics of the use of our overly large print periodical collection. In the past two years use of the collection has basically ceased (1500 print titles had a total of 1,000 circulations to our 3,000 students, faculty and staff.) We still have a goodly number of interlibrary loan uses, but that isn’t serving our patrons, who have moved to print rather decisively last year.

    And hopefully PC Mag will spend some money updating their website, I always found PCW much easier to use.

  4. DTNick Says:

    I too enjoy print. There are things you can do online that you can’t do in print, but conversely there are things you can do in print that you can’t do online. And besides, sometimes it’s nice to sit down with a magazine or book and disconnect for a while (even if it’s about the tech you use to stay connected 😉 ).

  5. thehumanyawn Says:

    I can’t believe this. I can’t stand reading magazines on the computer. I’m going to miss getting the print issues: no batteries, no files eating up hard drive space, and no other computer-related hassles. Whenever I go to a doctor’s appointment, I carry three magazines and my iPhone with me. Because I have to run my adapter off a flaky extension cord and USB extension cable, about half the time my iPhone doesn’t charge. I can’t use my iPhone while waiting because I need what little power I have left for phone calls, so I sit and read magazines.

  6. Lisa Says:

    That’s a real shame…because there are a lot of readers that don’t have an internet connection, so they’d go out and buy the Magazine instead. Now this leaves them in the dark.

  7. greg Says:

    tough to read a digital mag on the throne.

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