Just in Time

Every new issue of Spin-Off is available digitally as a PDF and through Zinio, as well as in print.

We hope someday soon the first issue of Spin-Off will be available digitally.

Just in Time

I never thought it would come to this. Our household has too many magazines. My husband has every Scientific American dating back to 1957, and he can't throw out a National Geographic, either. As for me, I have copies of most (not all) Spin-Offs going back to 1977. Handwovens and PieceWorks, too, for their long and healthy lifespans. Those collections alone = almost 425 issues.

As a person who has shaped her life around creating printed magazines and books, a person who loves the feel of paper, loves the smell of ink, it's hard to say "enough." I think the new digital age came along in the nick of time, though. I have come to love reading magazines on my e-reader (Big type! Back lighting!), and being able to scan through ten years' worth of issues on my laptop without causing a fire hazard all over my living room floor is a good thing.

The Rumpelstiltskin Connection

But what I really love to do is look at the disk itself. That perfectly round, shiny, inscrutable blank surface. And then I like sliding it into the slot and hearing the click and whirr of words coming to life on screen. I'm not a technically apt person, so it has a very strong element of magic. I like to think of that round disk spinning pages. There's probably a clever analogy to spinning straw into gold, but I can't think of it at the moment.

Converting magazine issues to digital files is not as easy as you might think, though. When Spin-Off was born, back in 1977, we were creating the magazine with X-Acto knives, hot wax, and photo stats. So we are working our way through, bit by bit, and so far have eleven years' worth available on CD.

You've heard all the arguments and apologies from publishers and the electronics industry dozens of times. You know about the convenience, the efficiency, the modernity. The reality is, we'll keep publishing words and pictures on paper, but we'll also publish them in inscrutable formats that require an on/off switch. You get a choice. As for my personal vast magazine stash, I've rented a tiny storage unit and equipped it with shelves. I will leave the key to my grandkids.

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