The Digital Reader offers a digital flip-through version of the print magazine - I wish I could show you this via a screen shot, but you have to try it to believe it. Click on the white circle within the grey triangle to move from page to page. You see the cover in all its colorful glory, the cartoons, advertisements, and, of course, entire stories. As a long-time New Yorker reader (over 40 years!), I love that I can again see the articles in context - with adjacent cartoons, snarky comments after the articles end, and that unique New Yorker font. I am excited again about reading the New Yorker -- I eagerly check my email on Monday mornings to browse the table of contents online.
But as a librarian in the world of journalism, I am excited about the model, too, because it seems like it just might be sustainable, or at least a step in the right direction. The New Yorker charged me $40 for this access, and I'm so happy about it, I'm blogging it. Points to them for peer promotion. Plus, they get to tell advertisers that folks are seeing their ads, even in the online version. I'd guess that advertisers get little or no benefit from readers accessing magazine archives through a library database. And presumably, readers themselves are happy about it, because they can read just the articles they want, in the familiar New Yorker format.
Blogger Jason Kottke gave a thoughtful list of pros & cons to the new interface in November 2008, in which I learned that the archives go back to 1925, and the site works on an iPhone. I agree that some improvements could be made to the interface, and I encountered some technical problems early on. It works well enough now on Mac FireFox, but printing isn't great on Safari.
I know that online access isn't the best option for all readers, but clearly the trend is for more online access to media-formerly-available-only-in-print. This is the first online foray by a print outlet that has captured my imagination AND persuaded me to open my wallet. I hope that other print publications will watch this and attempt their own versions.
For More Information
- New Yorker Digital Reader, 4-week trial offer.
- Kottke, Jason. The New Yorker's online Digital Reader, an evaluation. blog post, November 11, 2008.