Thursday, March 13, 2008

Husni Vs. BoSacks - The Whole Experience vs. the Hole Experience

The following terrific exchange is from Samir Husni's Blog. It is clearly part of an ongoing and and very public debate between myself and my good friend Samir. If you ever get the chance to see us do this in action, please do not miss it. It has always been the highlight of any event or trade show we have been invited to attend. I kid you not.

Captain Renault: What in heaven's name brought you to Casablanca?
Rick: My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.
Captain Renault: The waters? What waters? We're in the desert.
Rick: I was misinformed.
Casablanca (1942)

The Whole Experience vs. the Hole Experience
Posted by Samir Husni
My friend Bob Sacks discovered a major gap in his e-paper experience. For years he has been predicting the future of mass reaching magazines and books to be on-line or through some usage of an electronic device such as the Sony Reader or Kindle. Well, Bob had the chance to put his predictions to practice and lived to write about it. He summed his e-reader, the Kindle, experience as such:

·The Ebook experience is excellent and enjoyable. It was book like and yet had features that no book has.
·The Enewspaper experience was fair. With a newspaper the expected visuals, photos and charts were non existent and that colored my reading and my expectations.
·The Emagazine was a complete flop.

To say I told you so will be entirely unfair. But, what I have been saying for years is that the new technologies are yet another way to spread the word and to have content delivered to readers and viewers. It is a new way and not a replacement or even a substitute. Each media must present the entire whole experience on its own. No media should be made to be like this or that. If we are working so hard to invent a medium that looks like paper and feels like paper, why bother? We have paper, so there is no need to reinvent the wheel.

Well, folks, click here to read Bob's entire review of the Kindle and enjoy the "hole" in his "whole" experience.

BoSacks Reply to "The Whole Experience vs. the Hole Experience"

The fact that the magazine experience was a dud in the Kindle does not mean that the digital magazine experience cannot be achieved. It can be and it will become a wonderful experience. There are many flaws in this first generation e-paper reader, and all of those flaws are based in the design elements. But first we must acknowledge that the e-paper reading experience was excellent. The fact that Amazon stripped out the design elements from the files supplied does not mean that they can't and won't be included. If that is your only argument, you are very misinformed.

The digital magazine is alive and well. It grew over 115% last year, with at least 15 bona fide suppliers, and is expected to grow exceptionally for years to come. That growth is not based on epaper, but when the next generation of e-paper is available in 2011, the growth will be astronomical. It is fair to ask the question, WHY? There are many reasons - ease of use, connectability, newsworthiness - but perhaps above all is cost. Have you been tracking the cost of making magazines? These crippling costs combined with horrific inefficiencies of distribution will force publishers to offer better quality and more targeted print products at extremely high price points. The only answer for most of the magazine world will be digital editions. No, print is not going to go away. But it will not be the dominant information distribution vehicle. The publisher, the advertiser nor the reader can afford the print only world.
by BoSacks March 13, 2008 at 5:32 pm

My Dear Bob
Here you go again . . . putting words in my mouth, well putting words on my blog is more accurate . . . The debate is not whether digital magazines are well and alive, or whether e-paper will be here or not . . . The debate is about a new form of media which is being born to add to the rest of the media and not to REPLACE them . . . The digital magazine experience like Monkey magazine and other is a completely different experience than reading Maxim in print for example. Different media, different audiences . . . each and every medium, new or old, born or yet to be born, must try to create a complete whole experience and not just a "hole" in the experience . . . Whether print, broadcast, digital or whatever the new technologies will bring, if that medium does not create a complete wholesome experience with its audience it will be doomed . . .
All the best my friend,


My very dear friend Samir:

Write this down. You are correct about digital magazines having the ability to be different than print magazines. It can be very different, as is Monkey, or it can be a simple replica of a printed magazine. Most likely digital magazines will be fully media enriched, to take advantage of the new electronic medium that they ride upon, and to maximize the media possibilities. Your original position of shear enjoyment was that in my report on the Kindle epaper platform it was not a very good magazine experience. No it wasn't. But it will be, and my point in our exchange was that when that does happen correctly it will be as an epaper platform with full digital magazine functionality.

So to sum up this wonderful and informative exchange, you agree that digital magazines are and will be successful. You don't agree that epaper and digital magazines will someday replace the majority of printed magazines.

I'll go you one giant step further, my research with media Ideas ( ) points out that the market for printed periodicals will further decrease by 15% through 2016 in North America and Europe (0.7 probability). And that within twenty five years, only 10% of the paper-based magazine industry will remain (0.6 probability).

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