Image via National Geographic store product page
Well, for now anyway. National Geographic has put every single one of its issues onto one external hard drive. It's 120 years of National Geographic magazine issues (1888 to 2008) in digital format - including every photo and map in high resolution - all on an ultra-portable hard drive, offering an alternative to a stack of DVDs. This is a great green move for three big reasons.
1) The hard drive is a device people can still use for their own purposes, which they likely would buy anyway, so it saves them purchasing several pieces of electronic equipment. Only 60 GB of the 160 GB hard drive is used for NatGeo magazine issues, leaving plenty of space to use the hard drive for storing other files. When the issues are put on something like a CD or DVD (which, they are available on, by the way), then the user has DVDs that are only good for one thing - reading the magazine. On the other hand, the hard drive can be used for other purposes for years. A much better option.
2) We haven't transitioned to e-readers for magazines...yet. Magazine publishers are only just now starting to work together to take their issues digital and create e-readers for magazines. That means any magazine requiring users to have a specific electronic device means they're also promoting e-waste, since it's likely to be an outdated piece of equipment in the very near future. Instead, the hard drive is compatible with any computer for the foreseeable future. Again, a much better option.
3) You get goodies with it! Okay, so this might not be the best third reason (and in fact we aren't sure why this part wasn't also included on the hard drive along with the magazine issues) but it certainly makes the hard drive idea attractive to consumers. Along with the hard drive containing every issue of NatGeo, you also get a DVD that offers tips on better photography, a behind the scenes look at how National Geographic is produced and interviews with some of the photographers about their most famous pictures.
While a 160 GB hard drive can be bought for anywhere from $60 to $80, this one is priced at $200. Considering you're getting so much incredible content preloaded - every article, every interview, every advertisement, every photo, all in high resolution - it makes the hard drive worth it. So you're really getting an unbelievable library of NatGeo content AND 100 GB external hard drive for $200. That's a steal.