Christopher Mims talking about the flaws of tablets, ends with this wish(?) for the future:

We’re going to get something vivid and dynamic and flexible and light enough to be a credible replacement for print, and at the same time it might also supplant even more of the tasks we currently perform on both our PCs and our smartphones.

Mims is missing the point when he says: “credible replacement for print”. That exact line of thinking is why magazines are not thriving on the iPad. So let me lay this out as clearly as I can:

We do not need, and should not want, to replace print with digital.

We need, and should want, to find a way to make print irrelevant.

This goes for more than magazines, because PDFs have long been the de facto standard of paper replacement on the computer — and frankly PDFs suck. It’s a very bad idea to get pigeonholed into thinking that we need to replace X with X and that we can do so on a one-to-one basis. We need to rethink these mediums. We need to get out of the box and realize that it is not just that we need to replace print, but that we need to rethink the very concept of a magazine.

What would you rather have: a digital replica of a magazine — perfect replica — or would you rather have a completely new concept of what a magazine is. For me my magazine is Instapaper — and it’s the best one I have ever had.


Posted by Ben Brooks