After 79 years of print publication, Newsweek announced this week that on December 31, 2012 it will print its final edition and switch to an all digital format in the new year. As a person that loves the feel of actual books and magazines, and a subscriber to Newsweek, it seems as though print media’s shelf life is expiring.

Can we blame the internet for the slow demise of print media?. ‘‘The tempo of the news and the Web have completely overtaken the news magazines,’’ said Stephen G. Smith, editor of the Washington Examiner and the holder of an unprecedented newsweekly triple crown — nation editor at Time, editor of U.S. News and World Report, and executive editor of Newsweek from 1986 to 1991.

In a post on The Daily Beast, an extension of Newsweek, Tina Brown, Editor-In-Chief of The Daily Beast and Newsweek and Baba Shetty, CEO of The Newsweek Daily Beast Co., explained the transition to a fully digital edition of Newsweek:

Newsweek Global, as the all-digital publication will be named, will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context. Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscription and will be available through e-readers for both tablet and the Web, with select content available on The Daily Beast.

….It is important that we underscore what this digital transition means and, as importantly, what it does not. We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it. We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents. This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism—that is as powerful as ever. It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution.

In an attempt to sustain in a digital society, after almost 80 years in print, Newsweek may have set precedent with this move.  Now all we can do is watch to see who follows suit.

Do you think more magazines will take the all digital route? Which do you prefer?

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