I was at the drugstore buying train tickets, waiting for a cashier, staring blankly at the magazine covers, and realizing they’re possibly (like many paper publications) doomed. So what’s going to replace them? There is apparently a thriving market of people who will pay to read about movie-star marriages, home makeovers, and weight loss.

So I tweeted When paper magazines are gone, what will they have by the checkout counters?.

The People Speak · Did I ever get answers. Here they are:

What I Think · I’m with Michael Salinger: I’m thinking a big rack-size display with lots of magazine covers on it; you tap your phone to the one you want and get to read a few pages (just like you can browse the mags while you wait right now), tap again and it’s on your mobile.

But who knows, maybe the people who doubt that there’ll even be checkout counters have it.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Hub (Jul 23 2012, at 09:16)

Yes to the cover with a way to sample the magazine, but I don't see store letting that happen without getting a cut. What I see happening is like pre-paid cards: you like it, you grab it, you pay at check-out, store gets a cut.

It has the advantage to still work for people who don't have / want to have a credit card on file (more people than you think)


From: Michael Zajac (Jul 23 2012, at 09:27)

I don't accept that paper magazines will go away anytime soon.

For one thing, a magazine spread is a 20-inch display that you can roll up in a pocket or grocery bag. For another, it can show you a full-page ad while you read an article, without completely pissing you off.


From: Anton (Jul 23 2012, at 09:35)

I think the future will see a lot more coffee bars. They'll become a way of socializing content.

We'll need to keep socializing content - books, magazines, songs, news - so I could see walls hung with displays showing something that looks like the iTunes or Play stores, or tables with screens that flip through displays of content.

I recently discovered and became hooked on 'The Walking Dead' TV Show - I think/hope because I like the survival theme more than the zombies. I don't have cable - I saw it 'advertised' on iTunes and took a punt on it.

I wrote a little observation about this:



From: Dave Walker (Jul 23 2012, at 09:41)

I'm with the "no checkout counters" crowd; you'll have appropriate smartness to identify and pay for goods, built into trolleys and baskets (or NFC and RFID will come together, so your favourite handheld device does that - although the store will probably want the next generation of device security architecture, first).

Apple Stores don't have checkout counters, and while they have a patent or two on their model, the view from bits of the press is they're looking to licence it.


From: John Cowan (Jul 23 2012, at 09:54)

E-commerce isn't going to displace the candy vendor, and hot dog stands are doing fine, at least here in NYC, The City That Walks.


From: Ryan Baker (Jul 23 2012, at 10:12)

Reasonable to believe the magazine producers will try to hold on to that business model, but doubt it will stick. Once people have switched to digital for this kind of fluff, they'd probably find some site to provide it on a continuous basis rather than a publication.

On a related note, don't expect those printed magazines to disappear all that soon. They are impulse buys and the type of person likely to buy them isn't going to demand a digital version. I'm not saying they aren't comfortable with the digital world, just that they kind of take what's offered and don't demand change, at least when they are in the mood to buy celebrity fluff.


From: Bill Seitz (Jul 23 2012, at 10:33)

I'm not sure I agree with your assumption. Specialty magazines with actual editorial expense might be doomed in paper, but that doesn't mean 1-2 crappy scandalsheets can't survive.

But, if sticking with your assumption, then I agree with Mark Atwood - a *non-interactive* digital screen - not sure whether it will show a TV-like channel or scrolling text celeb headlines.


From: Jim Harvie (Jul 27 2012, at 14:34)

Actually the last time I was lolly gagging in a store line looking at those I was thinking about how I miss the old comment test of if you are human on ongoing.

Damn the questions were fun.

I note you were sneakily vague about timing, and so everyone gets to be right, if they offer a replacement or ask what counters or worry about retail surviving at all.

Maybe we will be all using those irritating self serve things with a video on us at corporate headquarters.


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