Esquire debuts electronic ink cover

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The American version of Esquire magazine will be trialling digital front covers in September.

A specially developed screen and battery will be manually inserted into the front cover of 100,000 copies of magazine flashing the headline “welcome to the 21st Century”.

The screen will also be used in the inside front cover to carry and advertisement for Ford, which is sponsoring the project.

“I hope it will be in the Smithsonian,” said David Granger, Esquire’s editor in chief, in a recent interview with the New York Times.

“Magazines have basically looked the same for 150 years. I have been frustrated with the lack of forward movement in the magazine industry.”

“The possibilities of print have just begun. In two years, I hope this looks like cellphones did in 1982, or car phones.”

The screens are being put together by E Ink, who’s technology is currently in the Amazon Kindle ebook. They will be built in China and then be shipped to Mexico where they will be built into the covers by hand.

The finished magazines will then be shipped to the distributor in specially refrigerated trucks to prolong the battery life. Granger estimates the screens should work for 90 days.

Although the black and white screens will look fairly primitive and have low resolution the magazine hopes to develop further models and has exclusive rights to the technology until the end of next year.

“This is really the 1.0 version,” said Kevin O’Malley, Esquire’s publisher.

“Imagine when the consumer walks by a newsstand and sees that it is alive.”
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