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Going digital: New Scientist

I’ve been a subscriber to New Scientist since October 2008. It is my primary source of keeping up with science and technology each week. For those who’ve never read it (or heard of it), New Scientist is a weekly science magazine out of the UK. It is usually around 48 pages and contains a summary of science and technology news, opinion pieces and op eds, as well as three or four feature articles in each issue. There are also book reviews, and letter columns. It is my favorite science magazine and I’ve tried very hard (although at times unsuccessfully) to read every issue cover-to-cover.

Back when I got my iPad, I downloaded the Zinio app which provides access to scores of magazine subscriptions in digital format. The nice thing about the application is that the digital version of magazine looks exactly the same, page-for-page, as the print edition. At first, I bought a single copy of New Scientist to see how it felt on the iPad. When I found that it was just like reading the print issue, I subscribed to the digital edition for a year, despite already having a print subscription.

This weekend, I received in the mail my renewal for the New Scientist print edition. And after some teeth gnashing, I decided that I was not going to renew the print edition when it comes up in October. I’m going to go entirely digital with New Scientist. ┬áThere was one thing that made this particularly difficult: a subscription to the print edition of the magazine gets you free online access to the entire catalog of New Scientist back issues. There is a vast wealth of articles and information available and I like the thought of having easy access to that information. But in the end, I realized that in the nearly-three years I’ve had a subscription, I’ve only gone back to the archives maybe half a dozen times. And that’s just not worth keeping the print edition.

On the other hand, there are a number of reason for going digital:

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