greentapestry : "DiSAHster Dahlings!"

Monday, 19 December 2011

"DiSAHster Dahlings!"

Just over a year ago I posted here about my attempt to embrace new technology by taking out a digital subscription to 'The English Garden' magazine. This came about from an urge to declutter as well as save some pennies.  Now a good year into this experiment I would like to say that it has been a great success, but this is not the case.  In the words of my favourite 'Strictly Come Dancing' judge, my verdict has to be it's been "a diSAHster dahlings!". What happens is that when the monthly email arrives to advise that the new edition is available online, I click and have a quick flick through of the contents but that is usually it. This happens even though there is always plenty that attracts my eye during that initial flick. I am ashamed to say that I have not read one single issue from virtual cover to virtual cover.

1 was always behind with hard copies of the magazine but only maybe by a couple of months or so never by a whole year! I think that the physical presence of a pile of unread magazines acted as a permanent reminder to make time to read them. Whilst they are floating about somewhere in cyber space it's not just the same! Sitting in front of a computer screen is just not as relaxing or as easy on the aging eyes as curling up on the settee with a favourite magazine. 'The English Garden' can be downloaded onto tablets which would go someway to perhaps making it more of a leisurely reading experience.  It is a shame that it is not working out as it's the cheapest way of reading the magazine. There are some minor minus points eg there are no free gifts with your virtual mag but the cost of subscribing this way is a big plus. I am going to make a determined effort to catch up with the backlog over the festive season and start afresh come the new year but I am not convinced. I have a feeling that come 2013 I will return to the traditional magazine format. Has anybody else taken out a digital magazine subscription? If so I would be interested to know whether you have fared better than me. Later this week more about my other venture into the realms of new technology which has left me with a big smile on my face.

P.S. I should say that you can browse in either single or double page mode and zoom in or out.


  1. I'm afraid it's ink and paper for me every time.

  2. Hi Anna,

    A good ole mag for me too. There's nothing quite like holding a book in your hands compared to reading something on a tablet/computer.

    I've downloaded plenty of books on my ipad and yet only ever actually finished one. I also had a free subscription to a mag when I bought my laptop and never read an entire issue.

  3. I'm sticking to print. I'm a terrible magazine addict (a natural speed reader, so I get through them quickly). You have to think what would happen if the power goes out, or on a sunny day. wifi only works on your laptop over a small distance.

    Remember - you can't stick a post-it note on a website page.

  4. We get a newsletter in an e-version. It irritates me that they have simply scanned it in, so you have to scroll around to read. The publisher needs to move forward with the new technology and set it up like a website. So you can click on the article about Oudolf grasses, read it thru. Then click on the next that catches your attention. Is the magazine user-friendly in that way? Scanned in is harder to read and simply not good enough!

  5. I remember your post when you started the experiment. I find it hard to read things like magazines on line and I like the feel of magazines and books so kindles dont appeal.

    My pile of magazines is embarassing. I have some going back several years. I have now cancelled all my subscriptions apart from RHS & Hortus while I read through the backlog. I have also realised how repetitive the magazines are and how I find some quite boring now!!

  6. very useful to have this feeback post Anna. I find it hard enough getting round to reading all the blogs I follow so a virtual mag would probably get put on the backburner of the memory shelf (mixing my metaphors here!)Nice idea, very green but I cannot curl up with a tablet unlike a mag or a book

  7. I agree with you about this! I have all the "toys", iPad etc., but there is nothing that compares to a comfy couch, cuppa something and a favourite magazine ... certainly not a computer! I've tried the e-mags and they don't do it for me either!

  8. Anna:
    There is something intrinsically tangible about holding a magazine [or book for that matter] in your hands. While these newer reading devices are wonderful for those with physical limitations, I will never be one to log onto the computer to fetch my latest Gardens Illustrated. Even if there was a discount in price, I would still be the one waiting by the post box every month! Hope all is well with you. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  9. I've never subscribed to online versions of magazines, I know that I'd never get round to reading them. I have a pile of unread magazines as it is, so I've cancelled all my subscriptions now whilst I catch up.

  10. I am going throught this now Anna. Since moving to Barbados, I have found it very expensive to have my print magazines moved with me, the extra postage charge is shocking. I have tried the digital version, but I hate it. I find it difficult to look around, the internet is always going out, so nice to have something to turn to, and they do get forgotten about in the inbox.
    I do hope that magazine companies will look at posts like this and realize that most subscribers want the print version still.

  11. We do so much and receive so much online now a days that it is just some habits that are hard to break. What I do like about online magazines is the interactive parts. One click and you have slick video. One click and you have the guiding voice of the author. Advertisements come to life. But this is expensive technology to produce employed by those magazines which are highly profitable with huge subscriptions. I receive only two garden magazines in print form and none digitally though, mainly because I doubt they would have these cool features.

    It is funny to mention not reading magazines online, yet reading blogs. And as patientgardener has said it is repetitive on both fronts. There is no way to avoid this either as there is only so much gardening information to put out there.

    I do watch TV shows online when I miss recording them with the DVR. I find this not to be as objectionable as is stated about magazines. Yet, many online magazines now have the TV qualities with the articles and images coming to life via video.

    I can still read/watch magazines from the comfort of a chair while holding the iPad in my hand. It is not the same, but it does not mean one experience is better than another. It is just different, and in the case of many readers here, liking their magazines in glossy print, preferable.

    Technology is here to stay and is affecting our viewing and purchasing power. Many magazines have gone away with poor subscription counts just as TV shows getting cancelled the first week due to poor ratings. Technology seems to have made us less patient and more demanding. Networks seem to have embraced the internet with great success, even giving second life to shows cancelled for TV.

    You mentioned the online magazines as a cheaper alternative than print, but some, like Nat Geo are slightly more expensive and deserving so. They are more fun to read online too.

    It is a matter of personal preference, but I enjoy where magazines have taken us online. And those that have successfully, are more likely to be here for a long time. And it saves a few trees too.

    Sorry for the long comment since we don't really know each other, but no one really said much for the magazines that do a great online publication or stated reasons why.

  12. Thanks for the update - I wondered how you'd get along when you first posted about this.

    I'm sticking with good old print for the moment. Having had problems with eye infections all year, I find I can still read print when I've had to give up with a screen.

    Having not splashed out on an iPad (nor Kindle for that matter), magazines like The Garden would not fare well on other eReaders available in the UK as they are so dependent on colour images.

  13. Thanks for the interesting post. I don't subscribe to any garden magazines (print or on-line)as there are several libraries nearby and I find them full of ads anyway amongst the "hort porn." To be honest, I glean more useful information from bloggers like you and others who actually garden. I find the voices of garden bloggers more authentic than those in the glossy mags, paper or digital.

  14. Anna - Thank you for this interesting post - I did wonder about subscribing to magazines online. There are a couple of American art/craft publications that interested me ... After your post I dont think I will bother - I struggle with information overload on my computer as it is - much nicer to take the magazine into another room and curl up for a good read.


All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at :


- Anna.