updated 06:55 pm EDT, Wed October 12, 2011
Pilot would provide scheduled printing of content
HP today detailed an unusual collaboration with publisher Condé Nast. Together, the two companies hoped to create a distribution method that combined online subscription content with digital-to-print services. The program, which is a pilot, would let a subscriber schedule delivery of material from Condé Nast directly to the printer to make a hard copy.
The printer group's senior VP Stephen Nigro conceived of it as a way for readers to get "the content they want, whenever they want it."
Publications from Condé Nast that would qualify, including Allure, Details, Epicurious, Glamour, Golf Digest, Self, and Wired.
The strategy has already raised concerns as it doesn't appear to have many advantages for actual readers. While it would let them get a physical copy on demand at home, they would get a less professional-looking, loose version. It would also rapidly drain printer ink, likely HP's intended goal, and could see readers pay hundreds of dollars each year for ink on top of the cost of the issues and anything else they wanted to print.
Most on-demand magazine reading has moved to tablets like the iPad. The up-front $499 price may be more expensive initially but could be cheaper in the long term, particularly for those who subscribe to more than one magazine.