Ripe Time for Mags to Go Digital?

With the cost of paper and fuel rising, will digital magazines take off?

Zinio, a company that distributes over 1,000 digital magazines titles, is betting on that.

As part of Advertising Week activities, I swung by Zino’s launch of the “Read Green Initiative.” There, David H. Gilmour, an entrepreneur who purchased Zinio last year, and Jeanniey Mullen, Zinio’s chief marketing officer and a ClickZ Expert, talked about the the environmental and financial benefits of digital mags.

To promote the Read Green Initiative, up to 50 million subscriptions will be given away — one per person — from publishers such as Hachette Filipacchi, Bonnier, and Greenspun.

Gilmour says the breakthrough event for digital magazines will be the availability in coming months of $400 color readers that are thinner than many print magazines.

Zinio executives said ads on the “pages” of digital magazines could be targeted to readers. Eventually ads could be designed to be interactive, though it sounds like it will take some time before that actually happens.

An interesting note: Gilmour’s also the founder of Fiji water, a bottled water company. And bottled water companies have been criticized for creating unnecessary waste.

Seems like Gilmour’s been able to tap a negative and work on something positive — and green.

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