When I had my Macversion, back in 2005, Apple was still a minority pursuit. It was difficult to lay hands on a copy of Macworld and I remember journeying to Tottenham Court Road to find a computer-orientated newsagent in computer-store land.
Now we have come full circle, as demonstrated by this busy news stand at W.H.Smith in Victoria Station. Apple products, in particular iPads and iPhones, now dominate the newsagents’ shelves. It makes me wonder who is really buying all this paper when almost all the stuff is available free on the internet.
In 2005 I would spend a fortune every month on Macworlds, PC magazines, car, photography and music periodicals. Want a new stereo for home? Off I would go for a copy of What HiFi? or similar and browse the pages, invariably settling on the product that had the most stars. My wildest imaginings didn’t suggest that by 2012 I would have ceased to buy all these publications. I now cannot remember the last time I bought a physical magazine, yet I feel I have more information available than ever I did in the old days.
Despite this, to judge by W.H.Smith’s rather haphazard shelves, there’s still life left in the old mag. Not everyone, it seems, is prepared to give up on paper. Nor, turning to the bookshelves, has the world become totally Kindleised.
It is happening, though. I predict that within five years most of these traditional technical magazines will have disappeared. Instead of spending upwards of £50 a month on periodicals, consumers will be getting the same information for nothing. Bookshelves, also, will continue to shrink. Ebooks are here to stay and it is only a matter of time before the paper book becomes an oddity, a curiousity for the few.
by Mike Evans, 14 December 2012