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Condé Nast & HP Want You to Kill More Trees

How would you like to increase your ink cartridge bills and throw more paper away every week? If that sounds like fun then I have a deal for you.

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.


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image by Evan Hamilton

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fjtorres October 12, 2011 um 6:26 pm

A great idea!
If we were living in the 80’s.
This stopped making any sense about 20 years ago.

TechGirl October 12, 2011 um 7:28 pm

If you’re the subscriber, how is that handing over control?

Nate Hoffelder October 12, 2011 um 7:30 pm

You’re giving them permission to send stuff to your printer, and that means you’re giving up control over the cost.

DebbyS October 12, 2011 um 7:40 pm

I don’t have or want a printer (at home; need ’em at work). My "printer" at home is CutePDF, so were I to use their service, I guess I’d wind up with PDFs 🙂 I’d have to be there to tell it the name I want for the document, I guess, but I don’t leave my computer on and plugged into the net 24/7 anyhow. The publisher would have to work on my time.

Richard Adin October 13, 2011 um 6:08 am

I guess I’m one of those odd ducks still living in the 1980s. I subscribe to more than 20 magazines and given the choice of reading them online or in print form, I always opt for print form. One reason for that is that the online versions are not made for my dedicated ebook device; they are designed for PC reading and I do not want to sit at my PC to read pleasure magazines that I pay for after having spent my workday hours sitting at the computer reading.

If they created the magazines to be read on my Sony 950, I would probably prefer that, but they don’t.

Perhaps if I had a tablet I would prefer to read the magazines on the tablet, but I don’t own a tablet and am not planning on buying one. A tablet fills no gap for me. Perhaps the magazines should offer me a free tablet, or if not the magazines, then those who think I should give up print versions for electronic versions should buy me a tablet of my choice.

But would I give Conde Nast control of my system — no. Would I be willing to print out a magazine at my expense, which is in addition to the subscription cost — no. In fact, this is one reason why I stopped subscribing to InDesign Magazine. I found I never read them unless I printed them out, which in effect doubled the cost of my subscription.

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