Innovation That Matters

All-you-can-read digital magazines

Publishing & Media

Earlier this year we wrote about idiomag, a digital music mag that’s customized to subscribers’ tastes. Picking up on the digital-delivery theme, French magazine distributor and kiosk retailer Relay now offers eco-minded consumers a way to receive issues of up to 400 magazines on their computers for one fixed, monthly rate. Through a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Relay’s fixed-price program—Eco forfait—lets consumers receive unlimited magazines of their choice (not including adult ones) for a price of EUR 17.90 per month. Subscribers begin by downloading Relay’s special Delivery reader software. The magazines they choose are then automatically delivered to their computers in full multimedia format, complete with sound, video, games, wallpapers, integrated search engine and interactive links. Average download times are between 40 seconds and 4 minutes per magazine, Relay says. Consumers can then access and read their magazines anytime they want, online or off, and set up a digital library, add notes or create special issues. Content can be printed, or it can be transferred via a compatible USB key for perusal on any other Windows device, regardless of whether it has the Delivery software. By receiving magazines digitally rather than in paper format, consumers help save the water, paper and energy associated with producing and transporting paper-based publications. In addition, EUR 1 of the subscription fee goes to the WWF each month to replenish and protect the forests of New Caledonia, which have been reduced to a mere 1 percent of their original area due to fires and other devastation. Digital content delivery has long been held up as one of the most promising aspects of the computer age for eliminating paper and helping the environment. Will eco-consumers be willing to read magazines in digital format? Only time will tell. In the meantime, one to watch! (Related: Online magazine publisher for the masses.) Spotted by: Florent Lesauvage



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