Esquire's October issue will have 100,000 copies sold with a flashing E-Ink display. This is the first magazine to ever use E-Ink and the technology used is exclusive to Esquire until 2009.
E-Ink is a type of electronic paper that is typically used in E-Book devices such as the Sony Reader of the Amazon Kindle. E-Ink is essentially millions of micro capsules containing one positively charged white particle and one negatively charged black particle. When a negative electric field is applied, the white particles move to the top of the microcapsule to become visible to the reader. This makes the surface appear white at that spot. At the same time, an opposite electric field pulls the black particles to the bottom of the microcapsules where they are hidden. By reversing this process, the black particles appear at the top of the capsule, which now makes the surface appear dark at that spot.
Unlike other electronic displays this means that power is only needed to change what is written on the page rather than a continuous supply of electricity. This means that E-Ink uses far less ink than a normal display. The ink can be printed onto any surface including glass, plastic, fabric and even paper, allowing E-Ink to be used in almost any application including magazines and newspapers.
In order for Esquire to achieve this magazine cover they had to make a six-figure investment to hire an engineer in China to develop a battery small enough to be inserted in the magazine cover. The batteries and the display case are manufactured and put together in China. They are shipped to Texas and on to Mexico, where the device is inserted by hand into each magazine.
Unfortunately the batteries will only last 90 days.
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