Publisher's Note

About This Special Issue of Reason


As explained by Editor-in-Chief Nick Gillespie on page 2, this is no ordinary issue of reason (see "Kiss Privacy Goodbye—and Good Riddance, Too"). It represents an unprecedented experiment in hyper-individualizing a commercial print publication. The overwhelming majority of subscribers has received a magazine in which the photo on the front cover, the information in the editor's note, and the advertisements on the back covers have been customized to individual readers. Out of a total print run of about 60,000, we've produced more than 40,000 unique editions of this issue to underscore some of the benefits of living in what our cover story calls a "Database Nation" (see page 26).

If you are reading a nonpersonalized version of the magazine, you likely picked up this issue at a newsstand or at an airport. (If you are a subscriber and you received a generic copy of the magazine, that's either because of data unavailability or other production problems that we weren't able to correct in time for the issue's print run.)

Aerial images were obtained from AirPhotoUSA ( You can also visit to access free U.S. Geological Survey satellite images for any address in the United States. The demographic data on page 2 come from the U.S. Census Bureau (, and the street map on that page is from Microsoft's MapPoint.

Our effort to process and collect data, print the covers, and assemble the issues has been a first-of-its-kind endeavor. In some cases, there may be problems with the output. For instance, the quality of the aerial photos depends heavily on where you live. More important, the photos and demographic data may be mismatched for your address. We regret any inaccuracies even as they underscore one of the pitfalls of living in a database nation: The information in circulation is not always right. Please send error reports to me at the e-mail address below.

We would also like to extend thanks to the people and organizations whose long hours and hard work have made this project possible, especially Justin Garten, Calvin Lee, and Grace Fermier of Entremedia in San Bernardino, California; Denis Williams and Ivan Verheye of Xeikon America; Harvey Levenson of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and University Graphic Systems; JR Robertson and David Lorenzini of AirPhotoUSA; and Greg Jackson and Matt Saddler of Democrat Printing & Lithographing in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Rodger Cosgrove, the head of Entremedia, deserves special thanks. Not only did Rodger introduce us to the variable printing technology, he helped to conceive the cover idea and organized the team that made it a reality.