Esquire Hopes To Keep Magazines Alive With Electronic Ink

from the gimmick-or-more? dept

News of Esquire’s October magazine cover using eInk was released earlier in the summer, but the magazine has now hit the stands. The cover of the magazine has a 10 square inch screen that flashes a series of images, interspersed with “The 21st Century Begins Now.” The magazine also has some more of the screens inside for advertisers to use. It’s likely that this magazine will sell an awful lot of copies (I’m going to try to pick up one if I get the chance), but the real question is whether or not this is just a gimmick, or it really has some potential for magazines. It certainly can’t be particularly cheap to get these e-ink screens in every magazine, so it hardly seems like a reasonable short-term solution for the magazine industry. But are more interactive magazines a possibility in the future — or will it come from the other direction, where people will simply download “magazines” to devices like the Kindle, which uses similar technology for the screen? While I’m still not sold on ebook readers, it seems more likely that we’re heading to a future where the magazine resides in the device, rather than the device residing in the magazine.

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Comments on “Esquire Hopes To Keep Magazines Alive With Electronic Ink”

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Nate says:


This is remarkably similar to the issues of National Geographic that were published back in the ’80s with holograms on the cover (the one with the early humanoid skull is one of my fond childhood memories).

In the context of print media, holograms were indeed a gimmick. However, holography as found many practical applications, notably in forgery-resistant identity documents. I’d guess that eInk will have a similar fate; it’s killer app will bear little resemblance to the uses for which it is currently being touted.

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

Disk Labeling.

Well, to my way of thinking, the best use for e-ink is as an automatic system for labeling CD/DVD’s and Flash Memory Modules as they are burned/written. The one place where you really don’t want to be squirting real ink is inside a disk drive. Commercial-grade disk duplicators have a little robot which takes the disk from an input spindle, puts it in drive to burn, moves it to a specialized printer, and then moves it to an output spindle. However, that is too complicated for the disk drive built into a computer.

This doesn’t sound very grand, and nobody is going to get very rich from it, but there it is.

Rick Sarvas (profile) says:

Does not seem to be a matrix display :(

The eInk display panel looks at though it only has a few fixed display segments like you would find in special purpose LCD displays used in cheap electronic devices. I had hoped that they would be some sort of dot matrix displays (even one with large pixels), but I guess at the price they are going for, that was an unreasonable expectation.

I’ll still probably pick up 1 or 2 to play with anyway.

Anonymous Coward says:

21st Century Starts When?

I’m pretty sure the 21st Century start a few years ago.

They should’ve used “The Future of Magazines Starts Now” or something more vague and logical.

Anyhow, you talk of the cost. Hopefully, this will catch on and the more pages like this that the magazine publishers purchase, the lower the cost will become.

Aaron Martin-Colby (profile) says:


I picked up the issue a few hours ago and was disappointed. I had heard early on that they were hoping to make a full dot-matrix display with a resolution in the neighborhood of 100×50.

The flexible displays are nice, but the not-very-revolutionary batteries and control board didn’t spark my fire.

I also am sympathetic to the argument that we don’t want to be adding to our already large pile of e-waste.

Still, this seems like a good first step and think it’s pretty damned cool.

Andrew says:


hey guys,

i work for Esquire Romania and i am currently in Vancouver. I tried to find the electronic cover edition because i really really want it but i couldn’t. Do you guys have any idea where i can get one from? Or if it is possible for any of you guys from the states to buy one and send it to me in Romania…i will transfer money in your bank…just please help me out on this one. 🙂 Thanks a lot

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