Thursday, July 24, 2008

BPN 1168 Esquire will have a digital paper colour cover

So far we have talked and read about digital paper in the context of an e-reader for e-books, magazines and newspapers. By now we have a whole range of e-readers with digital paper: iLiad, Sony, Kindle, Hanlin, Jet; just to name a few. But so far digital paper has not had another application yet such as digital paper for reading the time on a watch; digital paper in mobiles. But another application brought me back to the beginning of digital paper.

The research into digital paper started years ago in the Xerox Lab in Menlo Park. Although scientists were working on a completely different technology they also produced a plastic paper with electronic letters and numbers (see picture). However it was to difficult to produce font seizes of point 12. So one of the first applications for the large letter digital paper were banners in department stores likes Sachs in New York. The banners were not used for static messages, but were used for promotions and for changing the prices of products. Since the eighties this application has not been seen around.

But now the monthly Esquire of the Hearst conglomerate comes with an application of digital paper in the printed magazine world. They are not going to produce an electronic replica of their next September issue, but they will have a cover of digital paper. They can be seen for three months, until the battery dies. Esquire will distribute only 100.000 copies at the kiosks.

Why would Hearst do this? Mr Granger, a veteran editor to Esquire, told the NYTimes: “Magazines have basically looked the same for 150 years,” Mr. Granger said. “I have been frustrated with the lack of forward movement in the magazine industry.” This sounds like an old man, sad of the days assigning cover designs. And it is not for the subscribers or for the occasional Esquire buyer, but for the gadget freak. It is not for the cover; they might be famous in some circles, but they are not especially designed for digital paper. Remarkable is that the cover will be in colour; so far we only have seen digital paper in black and white n the market. But it is not for the colour digital paper, either. Esquire will celebrate its 75th anniversary in September and as the magazine is a legendary publication best known for its features and covers, it will have colour digital paper with replica of three classic covers as a gadget. How did Esquire pick digital paper as a celebration feature? That is simple. The owner Hearst has been an investor in e-Ink and is now having his investor’s perk.

But the Esquire cover opens up a new avenue not only of magazine covers. What about packaging material for food product can flash messages just as the number of days you can still eat the prouct; if the battery has died and the picture is gone, the product will be out of date. Another avenue is book covers; by the time the battery has died and the picture has gove, you should have finished your book!

Blog Posting Number: 1168

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