Acorn User publishes online back issuesBy Chris Williams. Published: 1st Oct 2003, 13:24:48 | Permalink | Printable
If it's not on sale, it'll be on the webAcorn 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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