Last week you wrote "With a print-based layout format authors and editors have great control of the exact appearance of their pages. The downside to that is that more work is required to manipulate the layout. Another problem is that .PDF files containing images can grow very large and be difficult to email as attachments."
I have seen books of up to 800 pages in PDFs of less than 8 MB.
I have had numismatic books of up to 300 pages with very large number of images, to be of 12 to 14 MB.
The emails accept up to 20 MB as attachment in most conservative cases so that should not be the reason for avoiding pdf as format for numismatic periodicals.
Compression technology has advanced and memory costs fallen, so I guess size isn't the issue it once was.
I'm responding to your request for thoughts on issues regarding numismatic publications. I am editor of the International Bank Note Society Journal, which is a full-color, printed quarterly produced for our 2200 members worldwide. Over 52 years the publication has evolved from a small typewritten newsletter run off on a Gestetner copier into the 84-page magazine of today. The core of the publication is a selection of articles on world paper money plus a comprehensive listing and description of recently issued new bank notes.
The Journal has always been thought of first as a hard-copy publication. Initially that was because there was no alternative. Members were geographically scattered -- as they still are today -- and could only be reached by a publication sent through the mail. Even today we have some members living in countries or regions where access to reliable electronic communication is a problem. As early as the third issue the Journal began carrying illustrations, which for a topic such as banknotes has always been important. So in our case, the nature of the content plus characteristics of the readership have dictated how the Journal is produced.
That doesn't mean we ignore the advance of technology. Articles are submitted electronically from all over the world to an editor based on the west coast of Canada. The edited copy plus photographs are sent electronically to the designers on the east cost of the US. The made-up electronic file of each edition is proofread in Australia, Germany and France. The finished file is sent to the printer in England, and the final printed publication is mailed out of Switzerland.
For our 50th anniversary year, a CD containing all the Journals published to that time was produced and distributed to members. Not long before, copies of the Journal began being mounted on the IBNS website in the section accessible only to members by password. With the completion of the CD, all back issues were also added to the website. The files are in pdf format and can be accessed and downloaded using Adobe Acrobat which means the original format of the publication is retained. Given the considerable number of illustrations in a copy of the magazine (in the latest issue there are 153 editorial illustrations, almost all in color, plus numerous color ads), it is necessary to maintain the hard-copy format for the version published on our website.
I think the point to be taken from our experience is that the form of any numismatic publication has to reflect the type of content, the frequency of publication (or the "immediacy" of the content), plus the ease of access of its audience.