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Acorn User publishes online back issues

By Chris Williams. Published: 1st Oct 2003, 13:24:48 | Permalink | Printable

If it's not on sale, it'll be on the web

Acorn User magazine is embracing the web fully from this month by freely publishing issues online as PDF files. Starting from this month, AU will upload a copy of the issue preceding the current on-sale edition. As the August issue is the current on-sale issue, the July 2003 edition is therefore online. The September issue is due out on the 18th.

There could be a number of reasons behind AU's decision to publish back issues on the web. Firstly, revenue from selling back issues must have fallen so low that it's not a problem to stick older issues online for free download. Plus, due to the rapid nature of information dissemination across the Internet, any important news or features will have been reported and discussed online before any given issue is a month old. AU are more than likely to be acutely aware of this, hence their claim that the September issue will "reveal one and a half revelations about what's happening in the RISC OS scene you won't get anywhere else". We're already so very excited.

Secondly, rival magazines have recently started offering free magazine copies to people who are considering subscribing to a RISC OS related publication and today's move by AU could be in response to this.

Thirdly, this could also be a drive from AU to openly prove its critics wrong. AU is notorious for being on the receiving end of heated criticism from a lot of users, it's something AU's 'earned' by being the long running publication that's seen us through thick and thin, then wafer thin and thick. Maybe now AU can use these digital back issues to help justify subscription rates.

The end result is that, hopefully, Acorn User will encourage more people to subscribe and therefore provide the cash to keep the magazine evolving. There's a critical mass in publishing, where subscriptions pay for more writers' pages, more pages pay for more adverts, more adverts pay for more PR gimmicks and writers and more writers get more subscribers.

When you consider that hosting a website is inexpensive compared to the thousands of pounds required to get a magazine to the presses, will Acorn User go 100% online, a true RISC OS e-zine? e-zine, a cringe-worthy term I never thought we'd have to use. These back issues are essentially extended adverts for Acorn User and the advertisers featured in the magazine. The magazine, as a whole, is undeniably an advert for the platform and especially now that it's online. Will it give the world wide web the right impression?


Acorn User magazine Historial AU issues on drobe.co.uk

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Seems like a good idea to me - I'll finally be able to tell if it really has improved since I stopped subscribing without taking a bus half-way across the county to a newsagent which is reputed to stock it. And in comparison to the impression you get on the newsgroups and elsewhere, it can only give the right impression.

Mind you, I wasn't aware they'd adopted that ridiculous tagline ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userninja on 1/10/03 7:10PM
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Still looks terrible, but atleast we'll be able to see if it becomes good again :| Until then I'll stick to good old Drobe and TIB for my mag type articles. -- Andrew [link] - RISC OS Banner Network [link] - RISC OS Web Counters

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 1/10/03 10:59PM
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One good thing about them letting us download it: It's told me that I shouldn't bother popping down the news agents to see if they stock it and see if it's improved. It hasn't. It's still utterly utterly awful, with the feel that it's been put together by amateurs. Shame, really.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 1/10/03 11:32PM
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this is great news. i haven't seen any acorn magazines for at least 18 months here on the other side of the world. (international subscription is pretty steep on my income :o)). now i can pretend that i'm still staying up to date with you lot.

keep the scans of the vintage docs coming too. --

 is a RISC OS Userlostamarble on 2/10/03 5:04AM
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I always thought that for me AU was a great magazine. I only came to the RISC OS world about a year ago with the arrival of an A3020 from a friend. Since then I've got my RPC and soon will have that networked and internet-ed. AU is very good for new comers I found. Their tutorials are very helpful - I followind the Dr. Wimp one avidly. One other advantage is that the companies who pay for advertising are reaching a wider audience.

-- Smiler - :D Alex Melhuish

 is a RISC OS UserSmiler on 2/10/03 7:09AM
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Smiler's point is very valid. Us old hands know exactly where to go online for news, software and to shop for RISC OS kit. We also know where and who to ask for help on various topics. However, for newbies, magazines provide a one-stop-shop to show them what's available, what's happening and what they can do with their RISC OS kit.

Personally, I haven't even seen an AU for about 5 years. I have been known to check various newsagents for it but with no luck. Tag line aside, this will be an 'interesting' read :-)

-- Spriteman.

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 2/10/03 9:18AM
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*smiles* now I can get all nostalgic over *Info and the Yellow Pages all over again, and this time not worry about damaging my shelf full of issues :)

 is a RISC OS UserNoMercy on 2/10/03 10:05AM
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Is this a wise move. Why should people bother paying the best part of a fiver for a printed magazine. Eight weeks later it will be available on the net for free. The natural conclusion to this is that the magazine ceases to be a viable bussiness, and then folds. -- Keep Flying

 is a RISC OS UserJWCR on 2/10/03 10:07AM
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Perhaps the next move for Acorn User would be to stop printing it altogether and give subscription holders access to a restricted area of their website with the PDF files in it, which would probably be cheaper and easier to manage than printing it.

 is a RISC OS Userandypoole on 2/10/03 12:26PM
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Perhaps - but there's still something peculiarly attractive about a magazine that you can hold, IMHO.

 is a RISC OS Userhutchies on 2/10/03 12:32PM
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Remember Tau Press produced a role playing magazine? It started off on paper but flopped, so they tried it as a webzine.


Maybe they're thinking of doing something similar with AU, and this is to test the water?

I guess most of the cover price of AU goes on the printing, so if they can cut those costs and spend more on producing decent content then it has to be good.

Maybe Drobe will have a rival ;)

 is a RISC OS Usermonkeyson on 2/10/03 1:01PM
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hutchies> Couldn't agree more, and the more shelf space RISC OS gets, the better, but I can't for the life of me find Acorn User in any newsagent/smiths etc etc anywhere I look.

I think this may be because they don't sell enough RISC OS magazines to make it worthwhile putting it on the shelf.

I can't really see that there is much that can be done to remedy this either :( -- AndyPoole [link]

 is a RISC OS Userandypoole on 2/10/03 2:43PM
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In reply to hutchies:

> Perhaps - but there's still something peculiarly attractive about a magazine that you can hold

True, short of me buying an Alpha, waiting for networking on Virtual Acorn and getting wav-lan, there is no way for me to read an ezine on the bog ;-) -- Spriteman.

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 2/10/03 2:58PM
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Of course there is: You print it out :) Hey, it'd still be cheaper than actually buying a copy of the magazine, even if you printed it in colour!

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 2/10/03 3:02PM
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In reply to Spriteman: Also it'd be a bit awkward/painful to wipe your backside on a portable, should you run out bog roll. :-)

-- Anim@L

 is a RISC OS UserAnimal on 2/10/03 3:04PM
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nunfetishist: That is especially true if you print it using someone elses printer (the university's for example ;) -- AndyPoole [link]

 is a RISC OS Userandypoole on 2/10/03 3:59PM
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(laugh) I accidentally clicked on the page whilst looking at the Robot Wars advert[*] and up popped the browser with the Robot Wars website in it. Well, it made me laugh.

[*] AU261_3.pdf, physical page 13; logical page 39 in the 'real' magazine. Don't try it on the real magazine though. It's only paper and doesn't support hyper-links, however much you prod it.

 is a RISC OS UserGerph on 2/10/03 4:13PM
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Is it me or do all the ads appear funny colours in !PDF ? -- Andrew [link] - RISC OS Banner Network [link] - RISC OS Web Counters

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 2/10/03 5:09PM
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"Making your computer much quiter"!


They cannot even spell on the front cover, let alone inside. Don't think I'll bother turning the e-page. -- Andrew Harmsworth, Cambridge. www.gcse.com owner and author

 is a RISC OS Userharmsy on 2/10/03 5:21PM
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You quit(t)er -- Spriteman.

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 2/10/03 7:43PM
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:Andrew Duffell

> Is it me or do all the ads appear funny colours in !PDF ?

Colin Granville says "Turn off highlighting in !PDF" (You muppet). That should sort out the problem. -- Spriteman.

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 2/10/03 7:59PM
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Thanks, that appears to work. Not that I want to view the ads :) -- Andrew [link] - RISC OS Banner Network [link] - RISC OS Web Counters

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 2/10/03 8:30PM
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Andrew Duffell: Its not like you have a choice not to view the ads - there are more of them than there is content from my point of view :p -- AndyPoole [link]

 is a RISC OS Userandypoole on 2/10/03 9:25PM
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