The annual edition set the standard for who was on top, and who was gaining, or falling. The magazine was written for technology and printer buyers, especially the elite early adopters, but industry insiders gave great attention to its advice. In-the-know marketing and research-and-development types were recognized by their collections of back issues and cubicle clippings from PC Mag's printer edition.
Through the '80s and '90s, I was fortunate enough to work for a company whose latest printer model often made the cover of this landmark issue. It was an honor we cherished, and worked for. A "vision statement" for a new printer development team often included the "stretch goal" of making the cover of the annual. While sales and profitability were the shareholders' yardsticks, the "PC Mag Printer Issue cover" metric was in many ways the ultimate (and not unrelated) prize.
The comprehensive Fall printer edition has been gone for awhile, with the magazine's continually excellent printer coverage spread out through the year. (And at least sporadically mentioned and linked to in this blog.) Now, in a move that really changes nothing but still evokes nostalgia, word came from the publication, via messages from Lance Ulanoff, Editor-in-Chief, of PCMag Digital Network PC Magazine Goes 100% Digital, and the one-time "Mr PC Magazine" Michael Miller's Requiem for PC Magazine (Print), that PC Magazine will no longer be a print publication.
Thanks to my friend Michael Miller as he recalls a few memories, for helping me recall mine:
...Our annual "Perfect PC" issue...in those days, the magazine was filled with ads -- I fondly remember going back and forth comparing the multi-page ads from all the direct vendors trying to figure out which PC I was going to buy.
And thanks to my blogging colleague Greg Walters, at The Death of the Copier, for his post (see "PC Magazine Dropping Print for Online") for alerting me to this development.