Recent news has the American computer magazine PCWorld ceasing its print operations and moving to digital distribution. I had to stop and let that sink in. Don’t get me wrong, I think this is a smart move for publisher IDG. In today’s publishing climate, I would expect digital magazine production to be much cheaper than print. Add the fact that the “PC” acronym is on the fast-track to a niche market and you have a sound business move. But, does this mean print magazines are dead? Not likely. Is PCWorld magazine dead? Not a chance.
What this is though, is a huge shift for a major computing magazine to make. It may signal a change that other publishers are about to make as paper publishers struggle to earn profits. Perhaps we’ll see all magazines digital-only one day.
What’s given me pause is losing something that was part of my early years in technology. Computing magazines like PCWorld, PC magazine and Byte were an easy way for me to learn about this new world while keeping up on news. Cheap and convenient access to these magazines made it much easier for someone who might have little knowledge and money but a strong desire to learn. It makes me wonder what kind of access our younger generations have to technology learning materials today.