2600 Breaks Free From DRM With PDF/EPUB Subscription

Hackaday has been online in some form or another since 2004, which for the Internet, makes us pretty damn old. But while that makes us one of the oldest surviving web resources for hacker types, we’ve got nothing on 2600 — they’ve been publishing their quarterly zine since 1984.

Summer 2023 Issue of 2600

While the physical magazine can still be found on store shelves, the iconic publication expanded into digital distribution some time ago, thanks largely to the Kindle’s Newsstand service. Unfortunately, that meant Amazon’s recent decision to shutter Newsstand threatened to deprive 2600 of a sizable chunk of their income. So what would any group of hackers do? They took matters into their own hands and spun-up their own digital distribution system.

As of today you’re able to subscribe to the digital version of 2600 in DRM-free PDF or EPUB formats, directly from the magazine’s official website. Which one you pick largely depends on how you want to read it: those looking for the highest fidelity experience should go with PDF, as it features an identical layout to the physical magazine, while those who are more concerned with how the content looks on their reader of choice would perhaps be better served by the flexibility of EPUB. After signing up you can download the current Summer issue immediately, with future issues hitting your inbox automatically. Load it onto your home-built Open Book, and you can really stick it to the establishment.

While the ending of this story seems to be a happy one, we can’t help but see it as a cautionary tale. How many other magazines would have the means and experience to offer up their own digital subscriptions? Or for that matter, how many could boast readers savvy enough to utilize it? The reality is many publications will be injured by Amazon’s decision, some mortally so. That’s a lot of power to be put into the hands of just one company, no matter how quick the shipping is.

13 thoughts on “2600 Breaks Free From DRM With PDF/EPUB Subscription

  1. I see this as an opportunity for 2600 to offer those capabilities as a (paid) service to those less technically savvy publications so they can stay available online, too (and DRM-free)!

  2. I got my start on BSD, Linux, and everything else, in the 90’s at 2600 meetings in the mall in Tulsa. I miss all those old friends, lost to life and time. Crypto, Cslid3, TheCount… If you see this, I hope ya’ll are doing okay.

  3. For over three decades I’ve looked forward to the quarterly brown envelope from Messers Goldstein, Hardy et al and was pleased to read of their progress (of sorts) in their editorial and again here. The wider the availability the better. Paper all the way for me though.

    1. You might want to look into the “Hacker Digest” lifetime subscription. This provides digital access to all past and future issues, plus a bunch of extra content that couldn’t fit into the physical version of the magazine.

      Unless you mean you want the physical back issues? In which case they have a sub for that as well, but there are many back issues which they don’t have copies for anymore, so you’d be getting kind of a fractured collection.

    1. That’s actually giving me pause. Having to choose between a layout faithful to the print mag (which is often half the fun), or an easier to read layout fit for e-readers hardly seems like the right way to go with this. I seriously doubt the majority of people are going to subscribe to both, so why bother with the divide? Weird.

  4. I’m a regular Amazon customer and I didn’t even KNOW that Amazon even offered the Newsstand service. Maybe that is part of the problem that has led to them dumping it.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.