I'm taking the bus to work for the time being and it gives me time to read, so I'm catching up on my subscription to Linux Journal, which has been all digital for about 2 years. I used to subscribe to the paper (or dead-tree) edition but when I realized I wasn't even reading it I gave up and let my subscription lapse. Then I received an e-mail from the magazine with a link for a free copy in any (or all) of several different formats. I don't like reading long documents in PDF format because it takes too long on my laptop and the files don't look right on my e-book reader (an Aluratek Libre eBook Reader Pro). I also passed on some of the other formats because they were hardware specific (Kindle, etc.) but the two I noticed were Mobi and ePub. Both were supported on my e-book reader so I downloaded the ePub and gave it a try. I was hooked. I pulled my credit card out of my wallet and subscribed, specifying the the ePub as my desired default.
Several issues later the publisher of Linux Journal, Belltown Media, Inc., announced that they were no longer going to publish the paper edition, stating cost reasons. It didn't bother me because I had grown to like the digital edition. Other magazines have gone to digital only publication but they only offer HTML, PDF, and proprietary formats. I'll pass on them until they follow Belltown Media's lead in offering in Mobi and ePub. The three I would like to see in these formats are Linux User & Developer, Linux Format, and Linux Magazine (Pro). They only offer HTML and PDF, and they are expensive because they are all UK publishers and the exchange rate makes the subscription about USD $75 per year.
As more magazine publishers look at the increased cost of paper and the demands of physical publications they are faced with the choice of switch to digital only or shut down and lay off all their staff. The letters to Linux Journal are many and varied. Some readers welcome the switch, others state they will never renew their subscriptions until a print on demand option is offered. I prefer digital because I can store more issues that way and they don't clutter up the house. When I closed down my storage locker several years ago I dumped a lot of computer magazines in the recycle bin. I ended up filling it five times before they were all gone. I don't miss them because most of them have archive DVDs of all the back issues (in HTML and PDF format) so I can go back when I want... When I shell out the $$ for the discs. One that I can is Byte because it went under before they could make digital copies of their issues. But if I want to read the Chaos Manner columns I can just ask the author since he regularly attends the LASFS meetings.
I'm writing this entry on my backup laptop while I backup the hard-drive on my main laptop, before upgrading to Fedora 16. Because of the issue with Qt on the older laptop I'm going to remove all the packages before starting the upgrade process. The backup should take another couple of hours and the upgrade several more. I report on the status later.
Linux Journal: http://www.linuxjournal.com
Linux User & Developer: www.linuxuser.co.uk
Linux Format: www.linuxformat.com
Linux Pro Magazine: www.linux-magazine.com
E-Book Reader: Aluratek Libre E-Book Reader Pro