HP are partnering with Condé Nast for a new pilot program. They're going to give you the chance to sign up for automatic delivery of CN to your HP printer. They've already planned to offer articles from Allure, Details, Epicurious, Glamour, Golf Digest, Self, Wired, and other Condé Nast titles.
A subscriber will be handing over control of the printer and allowing Condé Nast to send whatever they want. I'm sure that the articles will be well chosen so they match the subscribers interests, but the loss of control is more than a little creepy.
This doesn't quite rise to the level of spam, but I'd say that it's close. But let's set that aside and just look at the vast wasted expense of this program. How much of the content would you expect to be saved: 1%, 2% 5%? I would bet on the lowest percentage but no matter the number, most of the paper will be thrown away. A good portion will never even be read. Is there really any value in printing content that is never consumed?
HP make PCs, webOS, printers, and a number of other things. The company is so big that it looks like the printer division came up with a nutty idea and ran away with it without anyone being able to stop them. It ignores the basic fact that print subscriptions are dropping because fewer people read on paper anymore. Also, the people who are most likely to have a compatible HP printer are also going to be tech savvy, which means they are much more likely to read online.
Reading on paper is now a choice, not a requirement, and I'm not going to put up with an inferior experience. Now, I do still like to read on paper but only when the content and paper quality makes it worthwhile. I have flipped through Wired once or twice, but I wouldn't be interested in reading it if it were printed on the cheap-ass photocopy paper that's sitting in my printer.
image by Evan Hamilton