By Richard Truesdell
Almost four years ago, we started work on Automotive Traveler as an online-only magazine. The first issue went live in April 2007. It was our hope, mine especially, to combine my two passions--cars and travel--into a monthly magazine that could fill a niche market we identified: readers who are passionate about automotive adventure travel. We tried to pitch it as Car and Driver meets Condé Nast Traveler.
I think it's safe to say that our concept of an online-only publication was just a bit ahead of the market.
We published four fantastic issues, then put the magazine on hiatus in September 2007 and focused on content for AutomotiveTraveler.com. Since then, much has changed.
First, of course, the 2008 economic meltdown that had such an adverse impact on both vehicle sales and leisure travel. Car companies went bankrupt. Airlines flew through the turbulence of $4.00/gallon jet fuel, and, to keep planes in the air, found ways to charge us for everything from checked bags to blankets. Someone invented the word "staycation" to put a positive spin on families not having enough money to take a real trip somewhere. It was a major and unprecedented change in how we travel, drive, and spend leisure time.
Through it all, we've been publishing automotive and travel features in a standard blog format. We've watched AutomotiveTraveler.com's web traffic grow from 5,000 visitors a month to more than 50,000.
Then, this past spring, a game changer appeared: Apple's iPad. No matter how you feel about Apple, you have to hand it to the geeks in Cupertino. They took a moribund platform that has languished for years--the tablet PC--and reinvented it. With Apple's legendary marketing touch, they made it this year's gotta-have gadget.
What does that mean for Automotive Traveler?
Well, consider the iPad's form factor: It's almost exactly the size of a traditional magazine. This was not an accident. In the space of the latest copy of your favorite periodical you have a device that can store hundreds of issues of any magazine... and serve as a full-color e-reader, competing with Amazon's popular monochrome Kindle and the Barnes and Noble Nook Color due out in two
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