I was browsing the March 2009 issue of Visual Studio Magazine today and found that it's changing again. It's been integrated with the Redmond Developer News, VSM editor Patrick Meader is gone, and things will continue as part VSM part RDN. 40 pages this issue, with a 6 or 7 page special ad section in the middle. Seems to be a lot more content online than in the print version, probably because the print subscriptions are free. Free is good, but being the hard to please consumer it still seems like I'm not getting enough value for my money!
Coming not long after Dr Dobbs stopped their print version the slow death of the tech magazine market continues. There are still a few on the shelf at the book store and PC World seems to be surviving (so far), but the rest are getting thinner and thinner and I expect to see quite a few more cease printing by the end of the year.
Sadly I think it's us that is causing a lot of it. More and more people in our profession seem to be adopting the attitude that why get it in print if I can get it online. It is nice to have options, and it's definitely nice to find something in a search and not have to go digging through back issues looking for 'something you saw'. Yet the loss is portability and packaging. I keep a couple magazines in my bag to read when I end up having a few minutes to kill waiting on someone for lunch or a meeting (right now it's Entrepreneur and Scientific Amerian Earth 3.0). Could I take out the laptop, plug in the cell card, and browse online? Maybe, but most of the time I just don't want to bother. Maybe the Kindle fixes this, but can you bend over the corners of pages on the Kindle?
To me it's part of the downside of e-commerce that Steve Jones discusses and I don't know if we'll see the true value of the loss until too late. Can we change it? The free market is speaking and businesses are reacting, so my guess is no.....but if you want to try, I'd suggest revisiting the magazines you enjoy and consider a subscription or a renewal - if no one is interested, it's an easy decision for them to stop printing.
Of course I'm not sure if this is a case of being slow to adapt, or just hating to adapt - for me that is!