Chicago - Good news for those who thought their copies of Playboy were gone forever when their moms found them and threw them away.
Playboy launched a Web-based subscription service on Thursday called i.Playboy.com
that allows viewers to see every single page of every single magazine - from the first issue nearly 60 years ago that featured Marilyn Monroe to the ones hitting the newsstands today.
"They no longer have to store 57 years - 682 issues - of Playboy under their mattress," said Jimmy Jellinek, Playboy's chief content officer.
Chicago-based Playboy has seen its circulation plummet from 3.15 million in 2006 to 1.5 million today and has been trying all sorts of gimmicks to attract readers in recent years. One issue, for example, included a set of 3-D glasses to better see a centrefold shot in 3-D; another turned over the cover to a cartoon character, Marge Simpson.
But if those moves were widely viewed as efforts to attract a younger audience, this one is also aimed baby boomers and even their parents, who might recall pictorials of long gone movie stars, interviews with the likes of John Lennon and Dr Martin Luther King and the time former president Jimmy Carter famously revealed the lust in his heart.
And for those who have claimed they bought the magazine for the articles, the online service also offers a way to look at the works of such writers as John Updike, Jack Kerouac, Kurt Vonnegut, Hunter S Thompson and Norman Mailer just by typing in their names. ‘Collective nostalgia’
Jellinek is optimistic people will pony up the $8 per month or $60 per year for a service that's "meant to appeal to that sense of collective nostalgia and affinity".
He calls the website "the world's sexiest time machine" and "an anthology of cool" for a magazine he refers to as "the Mount Rushmore of literary greatness".
Jellinek concedes the whole thing is something of an experiment aimed at a niche audience, but he also insists the service has value because it offers a unique window into the past.
"We're not trying to achieve mass scale here and move the needle for the company in a great way," he said.