It is, or should be, a basic new-media mantra that people want content when they want it, where they want it, and how they want it. The rise of new media does not mean that print is dead. Rather, it means that print is just one of many ways people will choose to get information, depending on their preferences and circumstances.
This point was reiterated for me by today’s announcement that new-media icon Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, has made a deal with Hewlett-Packard to use its MagCloud print-on-demand service for his commercial wiki network, Wikia. The concept, in brief, is that a user can assemble content from a Wikia wiki into an electronic proof of a custom magazine and then use Magcloud to print, bind, and mail one or more copies. The Wikia magazines won’t win any design awards, to judge by the example provided , but it gives the user another option for how to format and use content.
A more traditional approach to using Magcloud’s service comes from the Atlantic magazine, which has created a special 60-page issue of archived articles by “the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Woodrow Wilson and Vannevar Bush” for a price of $6. Each issue is printed on demand, so the expense to the Atlantic is limited to the cost of creating the layout PDF.