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.