CQ to add digital editions to all magazine titles

As first reported on the Southgate site:

CQ Communications, Inc., will launch multi-platform digital editions of all of its magazine titles before the end of 2011, Publisher Richard Ross, K2MGA, announced today.

Those titles include CQ Amateur Radio (CQ magazine), CQ VHF, Popular Communications and WorldRadio Online. Many CQ book titles are already available in digital form on CD.

“The digital editions will supplement, not replace, current print editions, and will feature enhancements not possible in the print medium,” said Editorial Director Rich Moseson, W2VU.

“Versions will be available for a variety of online and mobile platforms* and will be hosted by Zinio, one of the top names in the e-magazine hosting business. This will assure that our magazines will always be able to take advantage of new technology when it becomes available.”

Examples of features that will be possible in the digital editions include live links to all World Wide Web addresses listed in each issue, as well as supplemental content, such as photo albums, audio and video files, software and more. “Imagine reading an article about meteor scatter and being able to listen to a meteor scatter contact with a click of a mouse,” said Moseson, “or reading an ad for a piece of new gear and being able to click directly to a video explaining its features. All of this and more will be possible in our digital editions.”

“At the same time,” he added, “the print editions will retain their unique characteristics, such as portability, the tactile experience of holding a magazine in your hands, no need for batteries and the ability to continue reading on an airplane after you’ve been told to turn off all electronic devices!”

The digital launch will begin in late October with the November issue of an enhanced, multi-platform, version of WorldRadio Online, which will again become a paid-subscription publication; followed by November CQ, which, appropriately, is the magazine’s first annual Technology Special. The fall issue of CQ VHF and the December issue of Popular Communications will round out the introductions. Digital editions will be available by single copy and by subscription.

Details will be in the near future in the magazines and on all CQ Communications websites.

(*Initially, digital editions will be compatible with the following platforms:
PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android 2.0 and higher.)

In light of the recent discussions here about World Radio going digital, is anyone surprised?  I remember when one of my favorite titles, PC Magazine, went to Zinio.  I tried it but could never get used to it.  Then, awhile later, they discontinued their print version. I never read another issue.

CQ Communications has seemed to embrace the “walled garden” of their print magazine instead of publishing articles on their website. This is an understandable business decision, but I think that they’ve missed an opportunity to build their online brands in trying to protect their paper magazines. Again, not sure that I’d do it differently. But looking at PC Magazine’s website, it seems that most content is now available free online. Granted, some will enjoy the magazine-like interface that Zinio offers, with their animated page turns, etc.

One line from this press release struck me as kind of funny:

Examples of features that will be possible in the digital editions include live links to all World Wide Web addresses listed in each issue, as well as supplemental content, such as photo albums, audio and video files, software and more.

Photo albums? Audio and video files? Live links to World Wide Web addresses?  These sound like cutting edge features. In 1996.  It has to be more than this to get people’s attention — and money.

The folks at CQ may have no choice but to start the process of moving to digital distribution with the magazine publishing business being as it is.  I desperately want to see this effort succeed.  We can’t afford to lose another great magazine.  CQ is smart to keep its print editions, at least for now.  But I believe that most hams will not pay for a digital-only magazine — at least not yet.  I hope I’m wrong.

Matt Thomas, W1MST, is the managing editor of AmateurRadio.com. Contact him at [email protected].

2 Responses to “CQ to add digital editions to all magazine titles”

  • Fred W0FMS:

    It’s not easy to read on a laptop or a desktop PC, but on a e-reader or tablet, you start to get used to it. The fact that the device can replace a whole bookshelf and that (non-side loaded) content is out on the “cloud” means when you break/lose/get your device stolen you still have access. Most sites allow up to 3 or so devices with their DRM, too.

    I personally have a new Nook touch and I like it. I have so many classic books that I’ve received for free that I have yet (and this is in almost 2 months of owning it) bought any! (But oddly enough I have bought

    I think it’s going to be necessary for the move away from paper books whether we like it or not, and technology is catching up to the point where it will be more practical than cool to do away with paper.

    Fred W0FMS

  • Jim KE5RHM:

    This is great news going digital is the way to go. It eliminates stacks of paper magazines we all hold on to. Takes up only a few bytes on your computer. I subscribed to PC magazine digital and a couple of photography digital magazines you can print some or all of articles. I wish ARRL would do the same thing with QST.

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