Esquire's E Ink cover was eight years in the making

Eaquire and E Ink, together in electric dreams
Eaquire and E Ink, together in electric dreams

Esquire magazine created a world's first in publishing this month by marrying technology with traditional print media and creating the world's first E Ink cover, which is available to 100,000 buyers of the magazine in the US.

Whether you see it as an expensive publicity stunt or revolutionary leap for magazines, it brought the idea of E Ink to the masses – the same technology that is being used in Sony's new eBook, the Reader.

TechRadar chatted with a spokesperson for E Ink, Bill Donlan, and he explained to us how the whole collaboration came about.

"Esquire came up with the idea eight years ago when the technology was not quite ready," says Donlan about the long gestation period. "They revisited the project 18 months ago and all the pieces were available to make the product.

"The design commenced a year ago not only on the display but the packaging, the magazine cover etc."

More E Ink products

While the magazine was a world's first, there's many more E Ink products in the pipeline and the line-up is diverse, as Donlan explains. "E Ink will have more eBook products, eNewspaper products, Ink-In-Motion products launched in the future and applications like mobile phones, wrist watches, electronic shelf labels and smart cards."

But what of E Ink and magazines? Was the Esquire link-up a match made in heaven or a trial never to be repeated? "We believe this project is the first step towards a major trend in digitising print publications," says Donlan.

And as Esquire is owned by Hearst, an investor in E Ink, it's hard to disagree.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.