Can Apple’s iPad and Interactive Magazines Save The Landfills?

By D. Salmons

Magazines are being printed in volumes every day, and the sheer bulk in waste is staggering. Time magazine prints more than four million copies a year, all in a slick glossy format that has not always been recyclable. But now, a technological gadget could provide a means for curbing the amount of glossy magazines that are produced–and therefore the number that end up in landfills.

Apple is bringing the iPad to the world on April 3rd, and as usual for Apple, it is being delivered with a lot of hoopla and plenty of pre-orders. However, this device is different from past debuts in that its strengths may not be the device itself, but rather the deals and the support surrounding it. To be more precise, Apple has been working with major publishers to bring their wares to the device.

As Information Week reportsTime and other major magazines will offer digital versions, served up on the device. Publishers are hoping the iPad will bring back declining readership and ad sales–and Time has already lined up Unilever, Toyota, and Fidelity Investments for ad space placement. The cost for an ad in an iPad issue? A cool $200,000.

One of the things attracting the print media giants is the iPad’s dynamic and colorful display, which will allow advertisements to really sing and transcend the printed page. You can expect to see interactive ads, incorporating user-generated and sport videos. These new ads should be a hit with young viewers, who have been exposed to interactive TV and video games for most of their lives.

This shift from printed media to electronic publishing works only if the demand is present. And with pre-orders exceeding that of the first iPhone, it is easy to imagine that a ready market is set to drop on April 3rd. The bets are on Apple hitting a perfect three with iPod, iPhone, and now iPad.

Are publishers actually actively pursuing the iPad channel as a viable medium as compared to print? According to Crunch Gear,

Publishers are flocking to it in droves in an effort to save their falling circulation numbers.

But will people be willing to give up their hard physical copies for mere digital viewing rights? That’s the big question, but if recent history in the shift to ebooks from physical copies is any indication, it would appear that people are ready to switch. As Fast Company so eloquently put it,

As long as the public can have access to great stories, good typography and superb visuals, it’s possible we’ll forget all about paper magazines.

As long as people have the right kind of experience with the media, chances are they will forgo the paper and go for the digital copy. From a convenience standpoint it makes sense, since you can download a wrinkle free perfect copy when you feel the urge. There are no trips to the mailbox or news stand, and physical storage is a non-issue.

Unlike the digital copies now available with Kindle or other devices, the iPad brings a full color rich media experience to the user. That gives the reader much more than she would have with print, and it makes the entire industry of magazines much more green than it is today.

D. Salmons is a freelance writer and social media consultant for several companies, ranging from individuals to Fortune 500. She is a bit of a geek and enjoys writing about tech and gadgets at TestFreaks. She strives to reduce her carbon footprint and teach her son how to be environmentally aware and respectful of his environment.

3p Contributor

TriplePundit's guest author program has had over 600 contributors over time. If you'd like to be a guest author, please get in touch!