I’m not known to buy in blindly to the next big thing, but here is something I know: The twin forces of economic necessity and technological opportunity will soon (in 3, 5, 10 years max) conspire to turn the phrase “print magazine” into an oxymoron. And you know what? It’s going to be great.
The catalyst for this transformation will come when a next-next-gen e-reader hits the market, one with a screen large enough to display a full-size magazine page — or, if you fold it open, a two-page spread — in glorious, high-resolution color. When that happens, we’ll probably offer an incentive of some kind to switch over to digital, but it won’t take much convincing. You’ll be able to curl up with the latest issue of Popular Science (or, plucked from device storage or the Web, any issue we’ve published since the magazine debuted in 1872) in the same way and in the same places you do now, whether bed, beach or bathroom.
It will be the same magazine, designed in a highly visual format to bring the future to life as vividly and comprehensibly as possible. Except it will be better, because we’ll take advantage of the digital delivery medium to offer videos, more-abundant photo galleries, animated infographics and, in general, deeper content than we can fit into our pages today.
How do I know this? Because we’re creating that multimedia magazine right now. In fact, you can see it for yourself in the form of our new “PopSci Genius Guide,” a no-nonsense quarterly manual full of how-to advice, available for download or reading in your browser window at popsci.com/geniusguide; the first one tells you everything you need to know to set up the ultimate home-entertainment system. It’s a magazine, but supercharged. I believe it’s the future of publishing, and I hope you’ll join us there.