The bus I took to work this morning was all decked out with National Post advertising, for their new ePaper program. The ad, which you can see via this info link, features a pair of hands holding a tablet-esque device which is bent, like a newspaper, and looks just like the print National Post. The slogan? ‘It’s just like reading the paper.’
The details were predictable enough. It’s a straight print replica which lets you do such revolutionary things as search, bookmark, share via social media or view extra photo galleries. You get it free if you are a paper subscriber, or you can pay for just digital access.
It’s better than nothing, I suppose. But I have written before about the perils of a too-rigid adherence to the print replica model. Layouts, column sizes, story arrangements and so on which were optimized for newspaper broadsheet sized pages may not be the ideal arrangements for a phone-sized screen…
Think of it another way—what would you say to a washing machine manufacturer who went to great lengths to make sure that the power button spun around and around in a circle, so as to mimic the hand-crank of the pre-electricity hand washers? Would you say that is a waste of time and effort?