So I’ve been living with The Guardian’s Digital Edition for a few weeks and I’m even more convinced. It really is the first good analogue for a real newspaper I’ve come across. I would seriously consider dropping the printed paper for this. I’m inspired because I’d sort of concluded that this would never happen. The best thing about it is that I can almost literally flick through it, reproducing exactly my (probably highly inefficient) daily newspaper habits if I want to, but also making the paper markedly more accessible by giving me the equivalent of the biggest kitchen table in the world to spread the papers out on (plus a pretty good search function).
Of course, whether The Guardian could actually make money from a digital edition is still up in the air but I reckon there must be some mileage in selling this as a service to other publishers. In fact, if I could add a bunch of other publications to my giant kitchen table and flick through them in the same way I would probably sign up on the spot. A new pop-up menu in the left-hand nav could bring up digital editions of all my favourites – especially the ones that currently have dreadful or non-existent web sites. In fact, I think even quite competent online periodicals like The Economist or The New Statesman or New Scientist could benefit from the Guardian’s approach. They’d all be improved by a dose of the giant kitchen table treatment. The Guardian might find that they’re sitting on an emerging standard for the presentation of printed publications online. Wouldn’t that be cool?