According to Plato, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” and this probably applies to E&E, who are relaunching the magazine after disappointing results in the AgLa readership study. Although Publish Industry tell me that they were planning a relaunch before the results were known, it is clear that a new approach is needed in the overcrowded German electronics magazine market.

The biggest change is the plan to change the editorial style to focus on the fascinating aspects of electronics – through both pictures and words. articles will look at technologies, products and people within the industry, and I guess the approach could be summarised as trying to make a coffee-table electronics magazine. The magazine will also reduce frequency to 8x year, but there will be a short PDF magazine (E&E Week) distributed by email 48 times a year, covering news and products. of course the website will continue in a similar format to today, as will the annual Kompendium.

The print publication will also be published as a “flip book” four times a year, with the back focusing on green electronics.

Unfortunately Publish Industry has also announced that Sabine Grothe (editor) and Javor Dimitrov (advertising manager) will leave the publication, although a replacement for Javor, Saskia Albert, has already been appointed.

So is this an inspired move, or panic? If E&E can pull it off, then I think it will be inspired. In a way the new approach is not unlike that of the IET’s Engineering and Technology, a publication that many of my engineering friends read avidly. The weekly PDF magazine is a fabulous idea, and will also ensure that advertisers feel that their products get covered (which clearly won’t happen as frequently in the new print format). But this is a huge challenge, and one that will be made even more difficult by changes in the advertising and editorial team. Producing 48 PDF mini-mags as well as a new format that if anything will place more pressure on the editors will definitely present a real challenge. Convincing advertisers of the completely new advertising ideas such as the spotlight photo sequence will surely require many sales conversations. Personally I hope E&E pulls it off – the electronics magazine market lacks innovation with most websites looking very similar and only a couple of magazine formats dominating the print offering. If this new approach is successful, we will have more engineers reading more magazines, which should will mean the design community becoming more knowledgeable and therefore able to design better products. Let’s hope this optimistic vision can become reality!