Esquire‘s 75th Anniversary “E-Ink” Cover: Recyclable, Unmentionably Expensive

Using electronics from Shanghai that were shipped to Dallas before traveling by refrigerated truck (preserves battery life!) to Mexico for assembly and then heading north to a Kentucky printing facility, Esquire‘s blinking 75th anniversary covers are hitting Borders, Barnes & Noble, and select newsstands this week. An “experimental limited-edition” of 100,000 copies of the magazine’s October 2008 issue feature an electronic ink (“E-Ink“) cover (pictured in below video) with a ten-square-inch digital display that blinks in moving letters “The 21st Century Begins Now” (hey, we have an eight-year-old t-shirt that says that!).

And should you decide not to keep your high-tech issue of Esquire (specially priced at $5.99) to incite the bemused pity of your grandchildren (who will read magazines by having them beamed directly into their extrastriate cortices), the full issue “can be recycled through your local municipal waste program in the same manner as you dispose of household batteries,” notes Esquire‘s website. “The paper can go in your paper recycling, and the protective foam in your plastic recycling.” We hear that the protective foam is also quite tasty on a graham cracker with a couple squares of chocolate.

What led Esquire to celebrate the big 7-5 by tricking out its print publication with digital display technology? “We’ve always been about showing men a certain level of ambition that they can aspire to,” Esquire editor-in-chief David Granger told Matt Lauer on yesterday’s Today show. When Lauer went on to press him on the costs of embedding six display-fueling batteries and two computer chips into 100,000 magazine covers, Granger replied only, “I’m not telling.”