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Communications of the ACM

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End of Days For Communications in Print?

cases of magazines


The rise in online publishing raises a question about the durability of print publications and of the printed magazine version of Communications of the ACM. How long will it last?

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John Goyo

Many magazines have gone digital over the years and I find that whereas I would have read at least the table of contents and a few articles of the print version, I rarely bother looking at the digital version. I rarely look at the CACM online-only content. I prefer to read the print copies sitting in my favourite chair with a beverage. When walls become digital displays, I may change my habit. My reaction may not be typical but it may not be rare, either. (At a conference on digital vs. print media last year or so, The Economist noted that their print version was far more popular because of its convenient form factor.)

David Roman

You are in good company, John. While online readership has grown, so has magazine readership for all age groups (except 35-49, down slightly), according to 2009 data from MPA, The Association of Magazine Media. MPA says that magazine readers spend more time online, make more purchases online, and are more affluent than non-magazine readers. They are also "super influential" consumers of luxury goods like beverages. Hey, were you part of that study?

Shawn Stewart

I would personally prefer to cease receiving paper copies of Communications and instead receive them via my Kindle (or other e-reader), similar to my now digital only NYTimes subscription.

The form factor is equally convenient and doesn't result is near as much clutter nor the piles of paper I have to take to the recycling bin.

David Roman

Hi Shawn. You can stop receiving paper copies of Communications by emailing and putting HOLD PRINT in the subject field.

Some content in the ACM Digital Library is newly available in e-reader formats. The October 2010 issue of Communications ( is offered in PRC and EPUB formats, for example. ACM will be monitoring usage of these formats. Thank you for your input.

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