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7/22/2008
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Esquire First Publication To Use Electronic Ink

Owner Hearst said the 75th anniversary issue will feature a cover across which various words and images will scroll, news-ticker style.

The owner of Esquire said Tuesday that it plans to publish the magazine's October issue using so-called electronic ink to mark the publication's 75th anniversary.

Hearst said the issue will feature a cover across which various words and images will scroll " news-ticker style -- thanks to technology developed by Cambridge, Mass.-based E Ink.

E Ink uses what are known as segmented display cells to show simple images and alphanumeric text on a paper-like material. The system requires a small battery. In the case of Esquire's October issue, the battery should last for about 90 days.

E Ink developed similar technology for Amazon.com to power the online retailer's Kindle portable reader. Coincidentally, Esquire in 2002 featured E Ink in a story on the business world's "best and brightest."

Hearst claims it's a first for the magazine industry. "We've spent 16 months making this happen," Esquire editor David Granger said in a statement. Granger said the issue's content will eye how digital technology is affecting the world. "The entire issue is devoted to exploring the ideas, people and issues that will be the foundation of the 21st century," he said.

Hearst's effort is being co-sponsored by Ford. The automaker is running a double-page spread on the back of Esquire's October cover that also will use electronic ink and will promote Ford's new Flex crossover vehicle.

The technology "offered us the chance to show the vehicle in a way we never could have imagined," said Jim Farley, Ford's group VP of marketing and communications, in a statement.

Magazines have been steadily losing advertising dollars to the Internet as marketers begin to favor the Web's interactivity and personalization potential. Electronic ink, if it catches on, could help the print industry reverse the trend -- or at least hold its ground -- in the contest for ad revenue.

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