Normally, if you want to check out a new magazine, you just go to the next news stand and get it. But what if you learn of one that is not officially available in your country? The rise of social media and content delivery methods like Podcasts also changed the playground a bit on how to advertise content coming from the "old media".
Just some small examples: Before I listened to shows like This Week in Tech or 1UP Yours I hadn't heard about, for instance, Wired Magazine. It is usually not available in Austria outside of train station book stores which counts in my book as from hard to miss up to not available. There is also the problem that imported magazines are extremely expensive. Back in the days I bought nearly every single issue of the incite magazines by Computec and later switched to EGM and both without a subscription. So every month I went to the central station just to get my import magazine.
Those two I got to know quite by accident when one of my mom's friends brought it back from a trip to the USA because she knew I was into games. But what if you actually want to get to know new magazines and don't have someone like that? I'm currently again in such a situation with the new GamePro. John Davison did quite a job on advertising it and I really want to check it out. But if I go to GamePro's website, all I can do is subscribe to it. It's not even easily possible to find out, what is in the current issue.
When you're looking for a book online, you normally have some way to read at least a couple of pages up front to see if you might actually like what's in it. With magazines that still only the exception of the rule. There are some great examples, though:
- Edge Magazine seems to provide two articles each month for free on their website
- and Wired Magazine seems to offer even more for free. No idea if this is really every article at least as a teaser.
But while content is one thing, the presentation is also an important part about a magazine. Edge for instance has its very own style about it, something that goes beyond the mere text of an article but also includes the whole layout. Perhaps a good solution would be not to offer a demo article just as plain HTML, but as an actual PDF as letter available as print. Currently I'd really love to see something like that for GamePro since spending 43 USD just to take a glimpse at a magazine just can't be the solution.
So please, dear magazine makers: Provide some demo of your magazines online so that even people like myself, who enjoy reading international media, can take a look and make an educated decision if they want a subscription or not ;-)