I Want To Throw Out My Wine Magazines
Amazon reports today that over the past three months it sold more "Kindle" e-books than it has hardcover books. Undoubtedly this announcement will make its way into future accounts of the transformation of publishing and reading. And undoubtedly wine books will, like books on every other subject, eventually be purchased primarily as electronic documents, rather than printed, tree-killing, ink-stained artifacts. But what interests me more is how long it will take for wine magazines to jump on the electronic bandwagon, where they belong.
While I've looked at the new Apple iPad and salivated over it's sleek potential for improving my life, I find that I'm only half way toward embracing the notion of abandoning bookshelves for electronic folders and a personal digital library. I like to gaze at the spines of the my collection of past reads. Not only do they make for attractive decor, but they remind me, and any guest in my home who cares to look, exactly down which path my intellectual pursuits have taken me.
Magazines and newsletters just don't serve the same purpose. In fact, I'm 100% ready to abandon printed magazines and ready to stop seeing them strewn across my office and living room and bathroom and bedroom and hallway and kitchen counter. And I'm sure Kathy is happy with this prospect. I'm happy to abandon print for digital when it comes to wine magazines, journals and newsletters.
But I wonder when the the wine publishing industry will be ready.
So in case publishers of wine magazines and newsletters and journals are wondering, here's what I want:
1. I want a simple way to use an iPad to browse the highlights of current issues. In other words, I'll settle for easily seeing the covers of the latest issues of wine magazines to determine if I want to buy that issue for my flight to Portland to attend IPNC.
2. I want the option of buying a digital subscription to wine magazines and newsletters that will automatically appear on my iPad when new issues are released along with receiving an email alerting me that my new issue is available.
3. I want the option to browse the magazine exactly as it appears in print (if still published in print) as well as the option to search the magazine or jump straight to the article I'm interested in.
4. I want the option to search for wine reviews that have appeared in the current and past issues I've purchased without having to go out onto the Internet to retrieve them.
5. I want the option to click on an author's name in any given issue and get a list of all articles they've written in past issues I've purchased without having to connect to the Internet.
6. I want interactive maps hosted on the iPad that allow me to further explore regions that are written about in articles.
7. I want to be able to listen to the articles read to me (as an option) if I'm not in the mood to read.
8. I want to be able to increase the size of the pictures in each issue to examine them more closely.
9. I want the option to easily write and send a letter to the editor or to the writer of the article as well as place comments on the article and read others comments (yes, I'm willing to use the Internet for this—and will more airlines please offer free Internet access—Please!!)
10. I want to be able to share articles with up to 5 people (email addresses).
I don't think I want much but I don't know when my modest requests will be granted either. The transition to digital publishing in the manner I request can't be cheap. But I guarantee the money will have to be spent by publishers at some point if they expect to survive. The news of Amazon's success with digital publishing of books suggests that smart publishers of magazines are already considering how to transition to grant my request.