The View From the Tree: 34 Tricks Printed Magazines Can Do That Apps Can’t
• Be 3D: The e-world is flat. At their best, digital editions can sort of replicate belly bands, flaps, tabs, gatefolds, pop-ups, blow-in cards, embossing, and other pieces that make printed magazines a three-dimensional experience. But it's not the same. Even the fanciest iPad app is a two-dimensional medium.
• See me: Foil stamping, metallic inks and fluorescent inks create colors and visual effects that cannot be replicated with a digital device.
• Sniff me: Until they make a Nook with Smell-O-Vision, you can't put scented varnish or scratch-and-sniff inserts into an electronic magazine.
• Touch me: Varying how different parts of the magazine feel can communicate messages that words can't convey. An ultrasmooth insert says luxury. Textured paper grabs attention. The rough edges of a business reply card subtly remind us there's a call to action. A fabric swatch or special coating let us sample how a product feels. And stiff paper is especially suited to for Viagra ads.
• Peel me: Printed magazines can engage the readers' hands in so many ways beyond just flipping pages—cut out this recipe, peel this strip, tear along the perforation, pull out this card, open this product sample, gently remove this centerfold and hide it from the wife and kids.
• Fruit vandalism: A recent issue of Lucky Peach took the "peel me" tactic to a new level with a page of mock fruit stickers—for example, "Suspiciously Foreign Tomato," "Hand Harvested By Poor People," "Eat Me," and, for you J. Alfred Prufrock fans, "Dare to Eat a Peach" with a picture of T.S. Eliot. When shoppers started placing the little messages in produce departments and trying to use the "$6 Off Entire Purchase" stickers, Lucky Peach got kicked out of Publix supermarkets, and generated more than enough free publicity and online copy sales to make up for the lost newsstand sales. Try that with an app.