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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    duane (profile), Sep 8th, 2008 @ 6:03pm


    My issue doesn't have that. Subscribers get screwed again...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Jake, Sep 8th, 2008 @ 6:25pm

    Huh. Didn't I see something like that in Minority Report?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2008 @ 8:25pm

    Hack of the Day?

    I'm hoping to get one or two of these in order to follow along with the inevitable explosion of cheap DIY eBook readers these are bound to inspire on the various sites dedicated to those types of things!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    GeneralEmergency (profile), Sep 8th, 2008 @ 8:35pm

    For once, I'll be helpful...

    Video and take-apart photos:

    I tried to buy one. They weren't in yet.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Nate, Sep 8th, 2008 @ 11:01pm


    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Sep 9th, 2008 @ 5:20am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Rick Sarvas, Sep 9th, 2008 @ 6:44am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 9th, 2008 @ 6:49am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2008 @ 8:41am


    Is that the magazine my dad used to read back in the 70s?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Aaron Martin-Colby (profile), Sep 10th, 2008 @ 6:00pm


    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 100x50.

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Andrew, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 6:22pm


    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

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Andrew, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 6:24pm



    Can you still find the electronic cover edition? I work for Esquire Romania and i would really need one...also my brother is a senior editor there and i would love to give it to him as a present. Do you think it is possible for you to send me one? I will send you the money in one way or another. Thanks a lot.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Motorcycle Fairings, Nov 25th, 2008 @ 8:02pm

    I would like to take a look to the cover, is there any link to check this magazine?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Home Decor, Jan 8th, 2009 @ 1:26pm

    What a wonderful job. Very commendable the quality of the blog.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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