After 79 years of print publication, Newsweek announced this week that on December 31, 2012 it will print its final edition and switch to an all digital format in the new year. As a person that loves the feel of actual books and magazines, and a subscriber to Newsweek, it seems as though print media’s shelf life is expiring.

Can we blame the internet for the slow demise of print media?. ‘‘The tempo of the news and the Web have completely overtaken the news magazines,’’ said Stephen G. Smith, editor of the Washington Examiner and the holder of an unprecedented newsweekly triple crown — nation editor at Time, editor of U.S. News and World Report, and executive editor of Newsweek from 1986 to 1991.

In a post on The Daily Beast, an extension of Newsweek, Tina Brown, Editor-In-Chief of The Daily Beast and Newsweek and Baba Shetty, CEO of The Newsweek Daily Beast Co., explained the transition to a fully digital edition of Newsweek:

Newsweek Global, as the all-digital publication will be named, will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context. Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscription and will be available through e-readers for both tablet and the Web, with select content available on The Daily Beast.

….It is important that we underscore what this digital transition means and, as importantly, what it does not. We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it. We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents. This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism—that is as powerful as ever. It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution.

In an attempt to sustain in a digital society, after almost 80 years in print, Newsweek may have set precedent with this move.  Now all we can do is watch to see who follows suit.

Do you think more magazines will take the all digital route? Which do you prefer?

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  • JN

    I have to admit, when I first read this, I first thought of Newsweek’s controversial covers and said to myself, “Karma’s a b!tch!” But on second thought, in the long run, I do believe that in 50 years, kids will not really know what a paperback feels like, much like kids today don’t always know what a record or a 8 track feels like.

    • Mademoiselle

      Sounds great in terms of environmental sustainability. Less trees “murdered” and fewer of their remains clogging up landfills.

    • Mademoiselle

      Sounds good in terms of environmental sustainability. Less trees “murdered” and fewer of their remains clogging up landfills.

  • Sweetles

    I am a little disappointed to see the magazine discontinue it’s print edition. I feel many other magazines will(have to) follow suit. A lot of magazines offer the print edition free if you subscribe to the digital edition anyways.

  • ?!?

    Yes. Digital is what is coming. A lot of magazines and papers have seen a decline in subscribers. People get their info online for free these days. I like actual books and magazines, but digital content is convenient. Amazon is pretty awesome, and I love being able to get what book I want immediately from the Kindle Store. Also digital doesn’t take up space, and it’s easier to organize. Amazon has definitely hurt physical bookstores. Amazon is probably what killed Borders. I don’t think magazines are any different. A lot of times you can get really good content from blogs scattered throughout the web. Also, I think physical textbooks or novels are more useful than physical magazines. Magazines will probably be browsed through a couple of times and discarded. You don’t really write on them or anything. The only thing that might be a problem is the layout of the magazine on a device.

  • Rue

    It’s more a sign of the “you print offensive $hit and people will hate you” times. Yeah digital is taking over, but newsweek hastened their own demise.