For those of you who don't know (and this is many) I'm about to become an Interweave contributor. Or rather, the contribution was long ago; it's due to be published soon. I think. I actually don't know, and will be just as surprised as you are to see my name among the pages.
Interweave recently contacted us contributors about participating in a pattern-on-demand service. Meaning that instead of hunting down a back issue of Interweave (or more accurately, grabbing a copy from your friend's bookshelf and scanning it) you can simply go to the website and download (for a fee) a copy of a particular pattern. [I don't know if articles will also be available in this way.]
This is a great way to determine which patterns are standing the test of time, and more significantly to halt (or at least slow) copyright infringement. It'll probably encourage more of us to knit from back issues. Why go through the trouble of hunting down an entire issue of a magazine when you need only one or two pages? Doesn't that seem like a waste? You no longer need your friend's bookshelf when you can download and print a clean beautiful copy of the desired pattern from your computer.
At first only a selection of the Interweave catalogue will be available in this way. Let's hope that it continues to expand as this service proves popular.
What got me thinking about the importance of this matter in more depth was a recent search for a sock pattern. Someone somewhere recently completed a pair of socks, and linked to the pattern. I don't know who the heck this was, and if someone does know, please email me. I liked the pattern immediately. It is, however, out of stock at The Loopy Ewe. Drat and darn. I'll have to wait until it restocks.
Imagine if TLE had a setup much like Chicknits, whereby once you pay your money you get an email with a PDF version of your pattern. No more waiting, and more importantly no more inventory issues for the shop.
I'm singling out TLE and Wendy Knits, but only because it's topical for me. This is far from the only designer/shop relationship with this type of pattern distribution setup.