How will we be Reading Magazines in 2020?

We have been informally polling readers of this blog to find out how we think magazines will be read in ten years time (you may still enter the poll here). We offered eleven different options for magazine reading a decade from now. According to those who have completed the magazine poll these are the likeliest options:

  1. On a tablet (something like the iPad)
  2. In print on paper delivered via physical distribution
  3. On an e-ink device (something like the Kindle but with colour)
  4. On a device or medium unlike any of the others in this list

At the bottom of the list

  • From an image projected to a surface by a mobile phone (or something like that)
  • On heads-up interactive goggles
  • On silicon brain inplants

I guess we only put ‘silicon brain inplants’ in the hope of attracting the science fiction audience, but I am a bit surprised that ‘On a device or medium unlike any others in this list‘ did not climb higher than the number 4 slot it now occupies. At the beginning of this year, Apple’s iPad was still an unknown quantity, quite possibly a huge flop in the making; and yet now 9 months later, for many people it looks like the most likely way in which magazines will be read in the next decade. Surely there is a chance that something still better, and quite unheralded, may come along?

Well our sample of respondents does not think so, and this very same sample also thinks that it is very possible that the printed paper magazine will still be up there contesting the number one spot with the iPad or its successor of 2020.

We constructed this poll because we thought it might throw up some data that we should consider at our private (invitation only — and I am afraid they have now all gone) Roundtable to discuss the current state of digital magazines at the British Library on December 1st. The theme of the Roundtable is: Bringing it all together: iPads, online and print; So we probably guessed right in putting iPads and other Tablets as the first of our themed discussions for the roundtable. These seem to be some of the tablet-related issues that may be addressed by our panelists on the day:

  • Are tablets now defining the format for digital magazines in the future?
  • Is it a problem that Apple makes by far the coolest device.
  • Will there be lots of tablet platforms? Apple, Android et al (this begins to look complicated!)
  • And what about mobile phones? Distinct or v different opportunities?
  • Can magazines sell/distribute digitally direct? Or do they need to go via an iTunes or a platform?
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