Previous installment here.
The deadline came and went, and digital magazine app Texture is no more. I wasn't too upset, as things change and the lifecycle of apps like this is relatively short. Besides, I still had all the backissues I'd downloaded from the Texture app saved on my tablet. I'm free to peruse them at my leisure.
Or so I thought...
Imagine my disappointment when, as I fired up Texture, I was greeted
with the above screen. I couldn't access the issues I'd previously
downloaded via the app, and the files were no longer on my tablet.
Every trick I tried showed an empty folder. The magazines are gone.
I was pretty upset, to say the least. When I finally calmed down (spoiler alert: I haven't), I looked at things logically. Ultimately, Texture wasn't a retail app, it was more like a rental: you paid the monthly fee, and in exchange you had free access to all their magazines and back issues for as long as the service was offered. Now that the service is no longer offered, the free access is gone.
So, I'm still a bit bummed. This brought to mind something I'd written in the third installment of this series:
"What I don't like about digital magazines is you can't leave one out on the coffee table. You can't lend it to someone. You can't draw mustaches and beards on the
female athletes, or Hitler
mustaches on all the politicians and businesspeople. There's no sense
of wonderment when you find one in a box in your closet. There's no
scent. You don't get free rub-on samples of cologne in them. Worst of
all, you have no physical artifact to leave to posterity."
The last line is the kicker, and is the big problem I have with digital media distribution in general: there's no physical artifact when all is said and done. What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
What do you have once the battery runs out? What's left when your hard drive or device is dead? What's your recourse if media is deleted and the vendor is no longer in business?
Some people might like that: no piles of old magazines cluttering the house, basement, attic or shed. No non-recyclable glossy pages blowing around the landfill (lol, like dead electronics are much better!), no cleanup once the media is no longer of interest. There's nothing to throw away in a digital throw-away culture. Once it's gone, it's forgotten. Progress! Hooray Capitalism!
Not me though. I'll keep my physical media and enjoy my ever-growing library of magazines, books, DVDs and CDs, sitting in my rocking chair in front of my mammoth tube TV and reading by candlelight.
Thus ends a multi-year journey into the consumer side of digital publishing. I began the journey with pre-conceived notions and ended having validated them in my own mind. I gave it a shot, saw the benefits and convenience, but also the many downsides. Thanks for tagging along.
Thanks to Bubbermiley (of New Winnipeg fame?) for letting me know about the Winnipeg Public Library's online mag subscription service!