Exclusive: How to hack the eInk in Esquire Mag

September 8, 2008   

This morning, Esquire Magazine, with an advertising partnership from Ford, released its 75 anniversary issue using "eInk" technology on the front and inside cover.

While I was there, I taped Michael Galpert of A.viary.com, interviewing Barrett Comiskey, now of NicobarGroup and a founding member of eInk in 1997. In the video, Barrett talks about how to hack the eInk for one's own purposes.

Indeed, this may be the most interesting part of the eInk. For the most part, the Esquire cover itself is plain gimmicky, and doesn't add much substance to the magazine. Event the Ford ad, on the inside, is a little dull.

In fact, the logistics of printing 100,000 copies with the eInk technology seems like a more impressive feat than the technology itself... and for those involved, this may be what they're most proud of. (When asked if it was cost-effective, even with the Ford ad dollars, the response was "no" but they were just happy that they could print so many without a hitch.)

So, now that they can print these these in bulk, the question remains: how do you make them both cost-effective and engaging for consumers (two of the original problems with eInk). Certainly moving beyond display ads have to be part of it. Most surprising to me and those who I've shown the eInk to is the lack of interactivity. One of my friends immediately starting pressing on the cover to see if it would do something.

Indeed, it doesn't.

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