You have to admire a magazine which runs an editorial dismissing its own cover-mounted CD as “that wretched disc.”
So says Dick Pountain in the October 2007 issue of PC Pro. He says in his column that the only reason PC Pro continues to have a cover-mount CD or DVD is because its competitors do, and that none of these competing mags has the courage to be the first to stop.
Is it pointless? In these broadband Internet days, pretty much. It’s true that there is sometimes software included which cannot be downloaded. Software vendors use it for special promotions, or allow mags to distribute old versions as a taster for the latest and greatest. But why not just have subscriber-only downloads, or downloads protected by a key printed in the mag? Sure, someone might post the key to a newsgroup, but then again they might upload the binary from the CD, so there’s little difference.
I don’t altogether follow DP’s logic though. I can’t be the only one who rarely looks at what is on the cover disc. In fact, knowing that CDs are not exactly bio-degradable, I feel a twinge of guilt as they hit the black bin. So if DP is right and that the mags want to lose the disc, all it would take is 10 pence off the cover price and a flash saying “New lower-price environmentally-friendly CD-free issue”, and it’s done. I doubt this would cost sales; in fact, it might make the others look just a little behind the times.