Hit & Run

The Magazine Rack of Babel

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A nice celebration/prediction of what omnipresent Adobe technology has done/is doing for the cause of spreading and preserving old paper literature from Gary North at LewRockwell.com. He also presents an entrepreneurial suggestion:

Magazine publishers are sitting on top of gold mines. National Geographic understood this early and put all of its old issues in a boxed set of CD-ROMs. This set originally retailed for $350. I bought a set at Sam?s Club for about $180 in 2000. The publisher made millions of dollars. (The box?s photo of an Afghan teenage girl with the huge eyes was worth a fortune as a sales device. A reporter tracked her down a couple of years ago. He showed her the NG cover. That was the only photo she ever had taken. She had not seen it. I wonder if she knows about signed release forms and royalties. Probably not.)

Right wing, left wing, it doesn?t matter. A magazine publisher can now put all of the back issues on-line or in a CD-ROM. Maybe he will hire you to do this on a contract basis if you present him with a free CD-ROM of one year of issues.

With Adobe Acrobat Pro, magazine publishers now have a bonanza available. They can convert long-dead inventory into money. They can offer a CD-ROM set of a complete 60-year set of the magazine for, say, $149.95, or for only $19.95 if someone subscribes or renews his subscription for three years.

Great suggestion. And for those publications no longer blessed with active continuing owners--like, say, many of the old science fiction magazines, and fanzines from the SF, comics, and indie music worlds I dote on and desultorily accumulate/collect--fans with web access will certainly be using the power of Adobe 6.0's instant page-to-PDF function, and Google's ability to search within those PDFs, to make lots and lots of, um, enthusiasts like me very happy indeed--and encourage us all to take the effort to make each other happy. (In fact, I'm surprised there hasn't been more of this type of action already--maybe I'm missing it.) This is truly an extraordinary and well-nigh miraculous age of cultural preservation and revival, and it should only get better.