Digital technology holds the promise of making the dissemination of information much easier and cheaper — no paper, no trucks — but this experiment by Esquire was the opposite.
“The whole chain had to be reinvented,” said Peter Griffin, the deputy editor. “The interesting thing is it has almost nothing to do with the normal way of putting out a magazine.”
First Esquire had to make a six-figure investment to hire an engineer in China to develop a battery small enough to be inserted in the magazine cover. The batteries and the display case are manufactured and put together in China. They are shipped to Texas and on to Mexico, where the device is inserted by hand into each magazine. The issues will then be shipped via trucks, which will be refrigerated to preserve the batteries, to the magazine’s distributor in Glazer, Ky.
“We are trying to combine a 21st-century technology with a 19th-century manufacturing process,” Mr. Granger said.
We decided to clip that particular part of the article because surely readers of this blog already understand the amazing potential of Electronic Ink. However, few may understand the things that are currently preventing all printed materials from being replaced with their electronic counterparts. We see that this is an ideal case for advertising to drive mass production of the technology as well as commercialization of the tangential technologies needed in the supply chain. While E-Ink might eventually come to complement more dynamic digital signage in stores and other venues, for now it will be forced into a somewhat lesser role currently occupied by holograms and lenticular inserts.