Cover Discs - Are They Necessary

  gcs_uk 09:33 08 May 2003

Just bought the latest issue of PCA (excellent as always - ok thats the brown nosing out of the way) and just perused the discs and tbh there is absolutely nothing of any real interest to me on these discs.

And if I am honest over the past few months I have felt the same.

Software tends to be time limited versions or very old. I am sure that each month there is something that interests somebody but is it necessary to always put discs on the cover.

Does PCA feel it has to b/c every other magazine does. Is it necessary to maintain market share? I dont know but if you look at the success of a rival magazine like Computeractive - they rarely if ever give away cover discs and there magazine has survived for a good number of years.

Ok I appreciate that PCA appeals to a more advanced used of computers but I wonder if the same business model applies.

This argument can also be extended to the DVD version of the magazine. I used to buy it but no longer feel the extra couple of pounds for the DVD version is actually worth it.

Wonder what other people think. I would also be interested to know what PCA think of this issue.

  The Spires 09:41 08 May 2003

Cover discs go straight in the bin, I do save the odd one but not often, seems to be some sort of tradition than anything going back to the days when users had no internet connection. My opinion ditch them.

  gcs_uk 09:46 08 May 2003

I wonder how much it costs PCA to produce these discs and how much cheaper could the magazine be published for, if this practice was discountinued ?

  hoverman 09:59 08 May 2003

As with The Spires, I usually bin cover discs but keep any cases which are handy for replacing the envelopes that some software come in.

  -pops- 10:09 08 May 2003

My local Tesco has a bin where all the extraneous matter from newspapers and magazines can be thrown. This bin very often contains many cover disks ripped from magazines - indicating that people can't even be bothered to take the things home for disposal. When cover disks were in jewel cases (very rare now) I remember the bins contained the disks but the cases had been taken. This does, or did, show what the buyers priority was and it wasn't a cover disk.


  Taran 10:18 08 May 2003

The idea for a magazine without any form of covermount CD has been bounced around before.

Unfortunately, there are a significant number of casual buyers who base their purchase at he newsstands almost entirely on the contents of the covermount disk. Many other readers/subscribes would buy other publications or feel less toward PCA if there was a complete absence of a cover disk.

Personally, I'd like to see the disks go entirely, bit if we must have them perhaps it could be along the lines of a once quarterly CD featuring Windows service releases and updates, the latest versions of the more basic utilities and perhaps mainstream component driver releases. Along those lines, it would be nice to see more manufacturers releasing driver packs like NVIDIA, where one driver download works with most of their products.

The cover CD is a thorny issue and it isn't likely to go away any time soon. With the greatest respect to those who work incredibly hard on sourcing the software and compiling/publishing the disks, I wouldn't miss covermount disks one jot.

  davidg_richmond 10:22 08 May 2003

stop it - you'll upset the coverdisc editor!

i believe this subject has been touched on a few times, and if i remember right (as i cant find the thread) it was decided that too many sales are on impulse and influenced by the contents of the cd/dvd.

the number of these sales and the revenue they bring in probably outweighs the cost to produce the discs.

  gcs_uk 10:45 08 May 2003

If impulse buyers (b/c of the contents of the CD) are such a significant part of the readership - how come magazines like Computeractive can survive without such discs.

I agree the people who put together these discs do a good job but I agree I would still buy a decent magazine even if did not have any coverdiscs.

But I suppose as long as the competition does it then PCA will have to continue it.

  Mango Grummit 10:52 08 May 2003

I agree that cover discs are not much use any more. But is that because we've all been computer users for so long now and there is nothing much free of value to us any longer?

In my own case I do have and use loads of freebies, progs/apps/utils, but have not added to my list for many many moons.

And yes, this has been debated before and PCA agreed with us but stated (not verbatim) that "it would be a very brave publication to be the first in stopping this cover cd practice".

  mole44 11:35 08 May 2003

i`m the sort that buys the disc and get the mag for free.if like me you have only dial up loading of the disc is a lot quicker.i know we get an older version of the software,but heck its still ok,most of the stuff i use is from cover discs.

  Tenner 11:58 08 May 2003

I agree with you both, to a point. Most newbies will have sophisticated systems ( XP ) and anything they need can be gleaned from a site like this. As for useful cover disks, they come on the specialists mags ( urghh, what a sweeping statement ! ) However, I'll try to qualify that : eg some digi photo mags now have tuition videos and one had complete Paint Shop Pro ( granted v5, not the latest v7!) all actually very useful.

I still feel cheated, though, when the disk is full of time-limited demos, and yet more copies of IE and glueless Tiscalli


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