By Jim McCloskey
'It’s been a long time coming,' wrote Jim McCloskey in his WaterShapes World blog in December 2013: 'Just ten days ago, after nearly six months of grinding care and effort, the entirety of the WaterShapes magazine archive is now available online as it originally appeared in print.
'They’re all digitized in .pdf format now, every edition from our premiere in February 1999 to our analog swan song in July 2011. . . . [A]t least three dozen of them have been completely unavailable – in most of those cases for many, many years.' He continued:
'Rolling through each of them to make certain the .pdf compilations were all complete was a wonderful process – one that occasionally tried my patience, yes, but one that also reacquainted me with what a splendid magazine we managed to produced through all those years. In fact, the time I spent with those old issues is responsible for firing me up and keeping me focused on building WaterShapes.com as a platform for communication and education in an industry the magazine helped define.'
'As we work toward [converting printed articles and columns to digital form,] we’re also starting to gear up our editorial operation to expand the mass of new content we’ve brought to our digital operation through the past two years. Already, we’ve mounted more than 600 articles to our site that were never published in the printed magazine, with a lot of that new material springing from our ambition to make the site friendly to consumers interested in bringing watershapes of all kinds into their lives.'
'I won’t belabor the point: Keep an eye on WaterShapes.com. It’s growing fast, getting deep and picking up where my all-time-favorite magazine left off – and may well surpass the original before long.'
'On related ground, I can’t tell you how many times during the International Pool|Spa|Patio Expo I was asked if WaterShapes would be returning to print someday. My answer invariably ran along these lines: “I don’t see it happening.”' First, as you can tell by looking at most of the trade magazines that cross your desk, things aren’t what they once were in the publishing realm – and getting back into print to resume a struggle against the tide just doesn’t seem like fun or productive to me.'
'Second, WaterShapes was a labor of love among people who were with the magazine almost from the get-go. . . . It was a family effort, and the team that made it happen is no more. Third, our all-digital platform is amazing. . . . I love the gallery function, where most of the images we insert to our web features can be blown up to large, legible sizes on computer screens. I also love being able to incorporate videos into the mix and plan on doing more along those lines as time passes. Finally, I love not being bound by publishing conventions that once tied me to calendars and seasonal cycles.'
'So no,' he concluded. 'WaterShapes won’t be back in print anytime soon. . . . I’m a Johnny-come-lately, digital convert, definitely, but one who’s been to school and likes what he sees coming.'
What do you think of the all-digital version of WaterShapes and the more than 2,500 articles it has published online since the magazine stopped publication in 2011? Share your thoughts by commenting in the space below!