Chapter 3. The Newsstand

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AS YOU SAW IN the previous chapter, ebooks look great on the Fire. Later in this book, you’ll see how movies shrink gracefully from silver- to touchscreen. But magazines and newspapers are a mixed bag. The good news: thanks to Amazon’s growing clout as an e-power, the company has signed deals with all the biggies, including: Condé Nast (publisher of Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and many others), the New York Times, National Geographic—the list is huge. The bad news: trying to cram a full-sized print page onto 7-inch displays, which are better suited for books and Angry Birds, isn’t always a great success.

The worst offenders are the magazines, most of which don’t even try to rejigger their layouts; you end up with a whole lot of panning and zooming. Big screen model owners, of course, are spared this nuisance; the 8.9-inch display requires only a modest amount of shrinkage. Reading digital replicas of print periodicals on these devices is quite pleasing.

Most newspapers, to their credit, sidestep this problem of trying to squeeze their massively wide selves onto any of the Fire’s screen sizes. Instead, they ditch all fancy formatting and deliver plain text plus a few pictures. On an early-generation Kindle—the kind with the black-and-white screen—this formula made sense. It even helped de-gunk ad clutter so readers could focus on articles. But the Fire has illuminated ...

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