Computer Shopper (US magazine)
Computer Shopper was a monthly consumer computer magazine published by SX2 Media Labs. The magazine ceased print publication in April 2009. The publisher continues to run ComputerShopper.com, a related website.
|Editor||John A. Burek|
|Final issue||April 2009|
|Company||SX2 Media Labs|
|Based in||Titusville, Florida|
Computer Shopper magazine was established in 1979 in Titusville, Florida. It began as a tabloid-size publication on yellow newsprint that primarily contained classified advertising and ads for computers (then largely kit-built, hobbyist systems), parts, and software. The magazine was created by Glenn Patch, publisher of the photo-equipment magazine Shutterbug Ads, in the hopes of applying its formula to a PC-technology magazine.
The magazine rapidly expanded into the then-burgeoning area of popular factory-built computers such as the TRS-80, as well as models from Apple, Atari, Texas Instruments, and others. For a time, it was a popular source of information for users of these soon-to-be-outmoded home computers. Then, as the white box IBM PC compatible business exploded in the mid-1980s, it became a source of shopping info (having both editorial content and direct-sales advertising) for the clone-PC revolution. Dell and Gateway sold their wares through ads in the pages of Computer Shopper.
In August 1984, the first perfect-bound issue of Computer Shopper debuted (at 350 pages), and the phone-book-size magazine regularly topped the 800-page mark during the early 1990s. It was during this time that the magazine was sold to Ziff Davis Publishing - first as a limited partnership, then solely owned. It was later sold, in 2000, along with Ziff-Davis' ZDNet Web site, to CNET. CNET sold Computer Shopper to new owners, SX2 Media Labs, in 2006. In April 2009, SX2 Media Labs discontinued the print version of the magazine.
The business continued on as a Web entity, ComputerShopper.com, which was subsequently reacquired by Ziff-Davis, Inc., in 2012.
Computer Shopper, the print magazine, comprised the following sections at the end of its publication:
- Boot Up. A commentary and product-news section written by the magazine's expert editors. A column written by Senior Editor Sarah E. Anderson examined tech-buying and related issues from a working mother's perspective.
- Reviews. Over two dozen in each issue, product reviews were the core of Computer Shopper's mission. Computer Shopper's reviews comprised lab testing and analysis by some of the industry’s experts on PC hardware and software.
- Features. Typically two or three per issue, the feature stories were often product-centric, comprising head-to-head[clarification needed] roundups and hardware and software buying guides. In addition, help and how-to features assisted readers in understanding the technology they already owned.
- Help and How-To. Here, Computer Shopper editors assisted readers with their tech troubles. "Weekend Project" stories gave step-by-step directions on how to perform common upgrades, PC-based leisure and productivity tasks, and much more. PC-building coverage also kept readers apprised of the latest in PC-hobbyist products.
- Shut Down. A retrospective look at technology through the archives of Computer Shopper.
- Bulletin Board Systems (BBS), A listing of Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) throughout the US and Canada, submitted by BBS Sysops. This was a good way to publicize BBS systems to those who wanted to get online before the advent of the modern Internet.
The web site is a portal with reviews, product roundups, help, and how-to coverage. It has a comparison-shopping component that allows buyers to connect with online sellers.
The site comprises central pages for all major computer hardware and software categories. One section lists the site's most recent coverage by category, while another lists guidance to the best products in a given category. The site provides summaries of how to shop for PC hardware and editors write about new product releases and first impressions.
A forum enables readers to engage in debate and get answers to computer buying questions and operating troubles. The site's download area provides access to free, shareware, and trial software apps, maintained by CNET.com.