Kindle 2 – online magazines nil


News of Amazon’s Kindle 2 has just leaked out, causing tremors of excitement amongst those of us who’d rather do anything than our day job.

The new ‘wirelss reading device’ (think what would happen if an iPod and a paperback had a baby) is sleek and gorgeous and very practical… which got me thinking.

I’ve noticed that  magazine publishers, still chasing that Holy Grail – the perfect online magazine – are increasingly settling for jazzy pdf versions that make ‘swish’ noises when you click your cursor on the corners of the pages. Is this a step forwards, or a step backwards? (Yeah, yeah – rhetorical question.)

The problem with an online graphic representation of a printed magazine is it doesn’t take full advantage of the ‘3D’ space and breathtaking functionality that the internet offers.

People absorb information differently online. They’ve spent the last few years (and online has only been around a few years) acquiring new skills and adapting old ones at a breaktaking pace. And what do we give them? Gussied up pictures of printed magazine pages. It’s a bit like passing your driving test and being handed a push bike.

Readers like Kindle 2, on the other hand, are finding new and exciting ways of bridging the space between online and offline. It gives people the offline framework – book dimensions, use of white space etc – but the ease of new media. Hurray!

Don’t get me wrong, there are some very nice magazine websites and emails out there, but we’re still a long way from doing print successfully online. In fact, should we be doing print at all? I’m seeking some inspiration here.