Tim L. Shuck of Ames, IA submitted the following review of the new online edition of Coin World. -Editor Coin World Digital Edition
"To each his own." So writes Coin World editor Beth Deisher about the availability of the new digital version of that magazine alongside the traditional paper edition. Coin World is one of a suite of publications Amos Press has made available online. As a current subscriber I've been receiving a weekly email informing me that "Your Digital Editions Are Now Available". Conveniently, the company knows who I am; or more accurately, knows that I'm a current subscriber. Clicking on the "CLICK HERE" button in the email graphic or on any publication cover takes me directly to the online edition. None of those endless cascading menus before you get to where you really want to go here.
And it's not just Coin World that I can read. Also available are Coin Values, Worldwide Coins, Paper Money Values, the Amos Advantage Coin Product Guide, the Amos Advantage Stamp Product Guide, and Scott Stamp Monthly. Clicking on any publication cover, visible when following the email link or via the Digital Library option, opens a new window with the digital version of that publication. I will note that I view the digital magazine(s) on a 24" color-calibrated iMac with the display set at 1920 x 1200 resolution. I also use a Logitech trackball with left/right 'mouse' buttons and various scrolling options.
There are several navigation tools which make browsing easy, all displayed as icons or text in a horizontal menu bar at the top of the window. Pages can be viewed one at a time, or as a two-page layout. Moving from page to page is accomplished either by using the left/right arrows on either side of the page view, or by using forward/backward and document beginning/ending arrows, which will be familiar to Adobe PDF users. Contents, Search, and Pages options display either a clickable list or page view thumbnails that take you directly to the selected page. The table of contents page also links each heading to the first page of that article, the links indicated by a yellow highlight during mouseover.
Some advertisers are also linked in a similar manner, and clicking on a highlighted ad opens a new window displaying the company's web page. Additional functions are icons to add the Coin World link to your Favorites, Print, and "Invite a friend to view this digital edition for a limited period". I've printed both to paper and to PDF, which enables saving a digital copy to my computer or as a backup. Other navigation functions include various Zoom options, including the ability to save a desired zoom setting. Pages are readable when zoomed to full screen, two-page layout, which on my computer results in a page display that is nearly standard US letter size.
Finally, there are options to display the Amos Press Digital Library, which has thumbnail image links to all current editions; Archives, which for Coin World, Worldwide Coins, and Coin Values includes all issues back to January, 2008; a handy Renew option for renewing subscriptions (never let a marketing opportunity go to waste!); and a Help selection which describes the menu options.
The design is not perfect, but problems are few. I couldn't get a search of a phrase (for example, 'bust half dollar') to display just the occurrences of the entire phrase. Instead, Search highlights the location of any of the search words, even when 'Exact Match' is checked. The multiple zoom/navigation options are useful, but can lead you to a display view that makes you wonder "How did I get here, and how do I get back?", if you're not paying attention. Print to PDF worked great for me the first time I used it to print the whole Coin World issue, but later tries inexplicably reduced the page size (though printing just a few pages worked normally).
I like several things about Coin World online but there is one reason above all: the user interface is straightforward and easy to use, but powerful. There is no "clever" page-flipping animation, no complicated menu structure. Zoom and navigation options are comprehensive, and at maximum zoom extent there is no significant loss of text or image clarity, which is both surprising and uncommon. I can print to paper, or print (save) to an industry-standard PDF file. It's possible to search for key words, in both articles and ads, not just within the displayed issue but also in the entire collection of available issues of a particular publication. Amos Press is building a fairly extensive archive of past issues, which I hope will not only grow but be available for a long, long time. I believe this digital implementation is one of the best currently available, if not the best.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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