By Rob Allanson

Editor's Word

I have often been asked the question before in the past but as our digital edition, the first whisky related magazine to appear for the iPad, starts to gather pace and readers, the issue raised its head again in an interview I gave. The question of course is: “Will the internet and digital magazines see the death of print media?”

This is an age old discussion, well at least as old as the internet; and the sort of debate that goes back to will vinyl replace the wax cylinder, will tape replace vinyl etc. The thought that something new will replace the old has probably been a pressing question ever since our ancestors pondered whether this new bronze stuff was as useful as stone.

To a certain extent I think you can say there will be an impact. The digital medium gives you some wonderful options to play with. Being constrained by print costs and page sizes ceases to be a problem; cutting copy to fit and having to limit the number of pictures per article becomes a thing of the past.

Let’s not forget you can embed films, tweets, Facebook links...the list is endless, and great fun to explore. One thing you are limited to is download size and time, the little swirling symbol can become an irritant as you wait for the next edition of something to download. However I am sure in time this issue will be overcome eventually.

Clearly download size is not an issue with a physical magazine; well unless you consider postage the print media version of this.
There is still an excitement in getting a magazine that for me personally is not replicated with the digital world. It is a very immediate physical thing. The weight and presence of the magazine. Opening the package, the smell of printer’s ink, the feel of pages and a spine as yet not broken in.

There is a permanence to a magazine that you don’t get with digital. If you are a magazine fan then chances are you keep them. You can go back, reference, mark up even cut out and keep things that catch your eye. I have all sorts of things clipped from newspapers and magazines pasted in journals, they serve as reminders for later.

In fact watching my daughter with a magazine is a joy. There is an innate desire to draw in it, cut things out to save or stick on the fridge and interact with it in a way that a flat screen cannot compete with.

Video games and computers have not done away with the delight of a physical toy so it is fairly easy to claim that print will be all right.
To be honest I see the two mediums working hand in hand, one complementing the other. The digital world can enhance you experience of a magazine. You read something and research it further. Similarly you might find something mentioned on line that you then find more detail with in an article.

Of course once you upgrade your computer and loose all the bookmarks, you still have your paper friend behind you on the shelf with dog ears marking out the interesting stuff you wanted to remember.

We are on the cusp of something very exciting in this print and online world, embrace them both and enjoy.