Magazine Covers Go High-Tech

By JR Raphael
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

A publication known for its bold covers is now attempting to go where no magazine has gone before.

Esquire has announced its September issue will boast an electronic cover that will flash the declaration “The 21st Century Begins Now.” The special issues will be seen only at newsstands, and only in 100,000 issues nationwide — about a seventh of the magazine’s total circulation — according to the New York Times.

The cover, created by E Ink, will stay powered for a full 90 days. A tiny battery is actually embedded inside. Each has to be inserted by hand, then delivered on a refrigerated truck to avoid losing significant power. The technology’s been used in things like in-store displays but never on a magazine, Esquire’s editor tells the Times.

The electronic cover came at a six-figure price tag but is supported by Ford, which will have an ad on the inside. Esquire bought exclusive rights to the technology through 2009.

E Ink, interestingly, also developed the technology in Amazon’s Kindle e-book device, the Times points out.

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4 Responses to Magazine Covers Go High-Tech

  1. That's pretty cool actually. I imagine it'll be common place after a while. An advertiser will work out soon that you can get an enormous amount of attention being the first person to put a 'moving' advert in a magazine (and not a hologram, which nobody enjoys). Then everybody will do it and it'll become the norm.

    I was thinking recently how long it will be until media becomes truly disposable; i.e., you'll buy a movie and watch it on the thing it comes on, like a 5×5 inch touch-screen that has basic iShuffle-type functions like Play, Pause and maybe Rewind. It'll cost like five dollars, and have maybe a 30-day shelf life. You'll then just throw it out. It sounds a bit far-fetched now but the way things are going it'll happen within 5-10 years, I reckon.

    • Seems a bit crazy, but really — it's just a step beyond the self-destructing DVD concept that's making a comeback right now.

      I think the magazine cover concept is pretty cool, myself. The idea of things like movies, music, etc becoming disposable strikes me as a bit much, though.

  2. That’s pretty cool actually. I imagine it’ll be common place after a while. An advertiser will work out soon that you can get an enormous amount of attention being the first person to put a ‘moving’ advert in a magazine (and not a hologram, which nobody enjoys). Then everybody will do it and it’ll become the norm.

    I was thinking recently how long it will be until media becomes truly disposable; i.e., you’ll buy a movie and watch it on the thing it comes on, like a 5×5 inch touch-screen that has basic iShuffle-type functions like Play, Pause and maybe Rewind. It’ll cost like five dollars, and have maybe a 30-day shelf life. You’ll then just throw it out. It sounds a bit far-fetched now but the way things are going it’ll happen within 5-10 years, I reckon.

    • Seems a bit crazy, but really — it's just a step beyond the self-destructing DVD concept that's making a comeback right now.

      I think the magazine cover concept is pretty cool, myself. The idea of things like movies, music, etc becoming disposable strikes me as a bit much, though.