Thanks for the info all. "Stealing" the material is not a big issue for mags like S.W.A.T. Passing an article around is good advertising. As for use of the material in print, that's what copyright filings are for.
The main concern is loosing newsstand sales to electronic issues. Clearly, if one purchases a magazine he can't give a "copy" to friends. Electronic publications, however, run this risk. I think there's four ways to handle this:
1) Devise a method whereby the PDF may be downloaded, even printed, but not copied. I doubt this capability exists in PDF. If it did, it would be ideal. We could sell the PDF for less than the normal Newsstand price if there were a way to accomplish this.
2) Make the full magazine prohibitively expensive in electronic format. Somebody here mentioned that AH has recently started a PDF download page (though I've been on Caeca to get ours going for months!
) If you look at it, they sell the PDF mag in sections. To purchase the entire mag this way is upward of $20 per issue!
3) Offer PART of the magazine FREE for download.
4) Offer Back Issues as download.
I'd like to do a combination of 2, 3 and 4. Each month, we could offer a free PDF "sample"....about 8-10 pages of the magazine with one or two columns and features. Easy download even for the DSL/Cable Challenged. This would be available only to a mail-list. The individual columns and features would be available for sale on our web site. Full copies of back issues could also be offered at less than the current back issue price of $8 for the die-hards out there that absolutely have to build an electronic library.
I've got Caeca's plate pretty full just now. If anyone has the Adobe tools and the desire, contact me by email. The pay sucks, but we can offer you the full PDF as we receive it and we'll even put you on the masthead if things work out. When I took over the magazine, one of the first things I asked for was PDF copies....we've been receiving these since our second issue. However, to do it right, we'd need some bells and whistles: repaginate to be viewed left to right, rather than up/down; make the links "live" for advertiser websites and the like.