Folks who have already received their copy of Linux Format 115 may already have noticed that it is a different size to their previous issues. This is, of course, deeply annoying for OCD people like me who like to arrange their magazines perfectly on the shelf. Of course, my magazine shelf became overloaded with issues a few months ago, collapsing under the weight of it all and tossing my careful efforts over the floor. I think it made me develop a nervous twitch.
Anyway, back to the important topic: from LXF115, the World's Finest Linux magazine is changing size. It is switching to A4, which is 216x279mm for our foreign friends. This has primarily been done for cost-saving reasons: thanks to the screw-up that is the worldwide economy right now, paper costs have gone up 40% in the last year, and we'd really rather not raise the magazine's price if it can be avoided.
Still, there are lots of other reasons why making the switch is good, not least:
1) The magazine is now 4% more pocket-sized, or 100% if you happen to have A4 pockets.
2) We're following the populist newspapers (The Indie, The Times, The Scotsman and of course the Chicago Sun-Times) in producing a Compact edition.
3) My grimacing face on the welcome page is now smaller, and thus more likely to be misconstrued as actually having a welcoming expression.
4) I can fit 4% more magazines on my bookshelf without it collapsing. This is, I'm sure, very important to you.
The difference in size between old LXF and new LXF is very slight, which is perhaps why we've only had one person question it so far. In terms of actual loss of content, it's true that we print fewer words now: our average word count has gone down from approximately 950 words a page (about 30% above the average for the computing sector) to about 935 words a page, with the loss being minimised because we're making smarter use of the space.
If you thought we were previously A4 in size, you were wrong - we were Super A4, which as far as I can tell was a format produced specifically so that magazines might sell more on newsstands by virtue of being slightly larger than the others. Fortunately our competition is rather thin on the ground, so we'd much rather compete on more important things, such as number of typos per
page line, number of penguins per cover, and number of thinly disguised Blade Runner references.
(NB: LXF subscribers should at this time pick up their copy of LXF115 and say "Oooh, I thought something felt different!")