Smashing the Tablets

Jeff Bercovici, media industry reporter for AOL’s DailyFinance blog, writing here for the New York Observer, takes aim at the fervor surrounding the same yet-to-be-unveiled tablet gadget being hailed as the savior of magazines that our Megan Garber took the mickey out of yesterday. (Full disclosure: I worked with Bercovici at last spring.)

Bercovici writes that magazines are inherently not designed to live online, where no one buys the whole pinata anymore - on the Internet, pinatas come pre-smashed for everyone to find and savor their individual favorite pieces of candy:

… A magazine isn’t just a brand wrapped around some words and pictures; it’s also a product, one whose nature is decidedly antithetical to the demands of the digital economy. Magazines are, above all, packages for diverse kinds of content: features, celebrity profiles, reader service, fashion, charticles—and, of course, glossy ads whose value to marketers derives from their adjacency to high-grade consumer porn. The digital universe, however, abhors a package. The first law of the Internet—and everything is the Internet now—is this: Anything that can be dis-aggregated will be.

Whatever miracles the much anticipated tablet is able to perform are yet to be seen. Until then, check out this new, online only e-magazine for a glimpse of what the glossies might look like in the future. What do you think?

Do you treat it like a traditional print magazine - taking in the entire package and letting the individual pieces fall into your lap, or do you just go rooting around for the bright, shiny pieces of candy that catch your eye and ignore all the rest?

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Alexandra Fenwick is an assistant editor at CJR.