Mr Jalopy's love/hate relationship with the Complete New Yorker

Mr Jalopy says the New Yorker is "the finest magazine ever published." So you can bet he was excited when the New Yorker published the Complete New Yorker, an 8-DVD set containing scans of every issue of the New Yorker since the first issue in 1925, including even the ads.

When Mr Jalopy installed the application on his Macintosh, however, he was disappointed to discover that he had to frequently swap the discs. It ruined his reading experience. So he decided to copy all the discs to his hard drive. But the digital rights management woven into the software prevented him from doing that.

He asked readers of his blog, Hooptyrides, for suggestions on how to fix the problem. Plenty of smart people offered ideas, but nothing quite worked. Now Mr Jalopy is disgusted with the New Yorker for producing such an unnecessarily ugly product. His commentary about the New Yorker's foolish stance on copy protection (which, by the way, does nothing to prevent people from copying and pirating the discs, but makes it damn near impossible for the owner of the discs to copy them to his hard drive for legal personal use) makes for excellent reading.

 Blogger 350 520 1600 Picture-2.0 I am so profoundly disappointed. The New Yorker is in the business of selling magazines. Certainly, they make a few dollars off the Cartoon Bank and their various editorial compilations, but I would bet, that the overwhelming money comes from ad space. Perhaps I am wrong, but I doubt it. What are they afraid of? The 8 DVD's are going to be on P2P sites? The New Yorker is concerned that people will be downloading 60 GBs to read old Talk of the Town snippets? That high school kids are going to be trading them in the parking lot? They will be sold on street corners along with Harry Potter? Wouldn't this huge black market of Complete New Yorker piracy just create more demand for the magazine and more ad space dollars? It is fitting of a New Yorker cartoon!

I would be downloading all 60GBs, I am that devoted. But I don't have to because The Complete New Yorker is cheap, beautifully packaged and comes with a great highlights book. The scans are good, the software adequate, the extracts are decent so the searching really works, but I do revoke my recommendation that it is worth buying. You buy it, but you don't own it. Conde Nast still owns it. You can't use it in a fair, legal and sensible manner and you don't know that until you own it, as it doesn't have a sticker reading 'This DVD is Fucked.' It is not unreasonable to expect that consumers would choose to archive and eliminate the onerous disc swapping that is caused by being spread over 8 DVDs.

Mister Jalopy has four entries on his blog about this: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Reader comment: Glenn Fleishman says: "The Cartoon Bank almost certainly grosses between $4 million and $10 million a year, and produces a very fine net that may be in the millions. I wrote about the brilliant Bob Mankoff back in 1998 to 2001 in several articles across a few different publications. For instance, back six years ago, he told me that 'On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog' had netted the cartoonist $100,000 for his share. And that was six years ago. They don't release a lot of numbers, but I got some out of him, which is the basis for my wide range based on their projects since.

"In fact, I've argued elsewhere that when The New Yorker has been profitable, it's profit boost must be almost entirely attributable to The Cartoon Bank, which has extremely high margins as it's scaled up: they have a staff and a database, but much of the routine work happens during production of each magazine now that they've scanned all the cartoons in the back issues."

Reader comment: OM says: "That annoying 'disk swap' issue isn’t limited to the New Yorker collection. Pretty much any scanned magazine collection is set up along similar annoyances. Probably the most annoying example I have is the massive National Geographic set from 1998. Having ample hard drive space on my servers, it should have been an option to dump the entire contents on one hard drive for ease and speed of viewing. But nope, they’re afraid you’ll dump the whole thing on your hard drive and make a Ghost image to give to your friends. Which is basically what the NatGeo Society told everyone who bought the set and bitched about it – especially those who’re actually long-standing subscribing members! To be honest, the disk swapping was so damn annoying that I took the set back to the store I got it from – believe it or not, this place would take software returns on this package because a *LOT* of old NatGeo members had been screwed, and there’s nothing more irate than a bunch of senior citizens who’re worldly educated *and* have just gotten the shaft by an organization they’ve trusted for decades.

"You’d hope that other magazines would have learned from this lesson, but nope. They’ve been seduced by the demons known as 'BSA' and 'SPA' into believing that *everyone* is a pirate"