July 30, 2008

Esquire Is the First Mass Publication To Use Electronic Ink

Hearst says Esquire's 75th anniversary issue in October will feature a cover across which various words and images will scroll, news-ticker style, utilizing technology developed by Cambridge, Mass.-based E-Ink.

E-Ink uses what are known as segmented display cells to show simple images and alphanumeric text on a paper-like material. The system requires a small battery. In the case of Esquire's October issue, the battery should last for about 90 days.

E-Ink developed similar technology for Amazon.com to power the online retailer's Kindle portable reader. Coincidentally, Esquire in 2002 featured E Ink in a story on the business world's "best and brightest."

Hearst claims it's a first for the magazine industry. "We've spent 16 months making this happen," Esquire editor David Granger said in a statement. The issue's content will eye how digital technology is affecting the world. "The entire issue is devoted to exploring the ideas, people and issues that will be the foundation of the 21st century," he said.

Magazines have been steadily losing circulation (and advertising dollars), to the Internet as marketers begin to favor the Web's interactivity and personalization potential. Electronic ink, if it catches on, could help the print industry reverse the trend -- or at least hold its ground -- in the contest for readership.

I'm following these developments closely -- our a@$$ is on the line too!