I am sure many of you remember the gigantic Computer Shopper magazines of the 1990's; but Computer Shopper actually dates back to sometime in 1979, and still exists in electronic form today.

In my various travels across the interwebs I have found many sites devoted to preserving magazines and books from the early days of personal computing; but I've never found a collection of Computer Shopper scans.

Maybe the Shopper just isn't as glamorous as some other big-name publications, but I suspect the first decade (before the explosion of beige box clones) would provide a lot of insight into pricing trends, availability, hot products, flash-in-the-pan mail-order companies, vaporware, etc.

At the risk of inviting link only answers - does anyone know if such a preservation effort exists?

  • 11
    As usual Archive.org is your friend, except, so far only about 10 issues of 2001 have been uploaded. Isn't that a great chance for you to go ahead and scan and upload some issues, helping to preserve?
    – Raffzahn
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 7:53
  • 2
    Oh, I so wish I'd kept all my old giant Computer Shopper magazines from back in the day! Those were the best magazines ever. I read them so many times. Miss that so much. Just can't find anything comparable today to what they had back then! Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 16:46
  • 2
    I have some old computer shopper magazines what are they worth i have a couple hundred of them if anyone os interested Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 18:08
  • 3
    @jeannecano, Firstly, I won't comment on if your old Computer shopper magazines have any monetary value. They might. They might not. But they definitely have Historical Value, so PLEASE don't just dumpster them. I'd love to have them, but there are probably better places to donate them to make sure they are properly scanned and made available to everyone. - which would make an excellent question here on SE. "Where can I donate my old Computer Shopper Magazines to make sure they get scanned and shared?"
    – Geo...
    Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 21:46
  • 3
    I was also a writer at Shopper starting in 1989. I loved that big, old thing. Alas, during one move I got rid of my hundred plus pounds of Shoppers. I wish I had them now. I wrote--no lie--over a thousand articles for them. Now, they're gone. While most have little intrinsic value--comparative reviews of 386SX PCs--in aggregative the Shopper articles, and ads for that matter, present the best comprehensive view of PC culture in the 80s and 90s. Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 21:53

3 Answers 3


My writing career began in 1992 in Computer Shopper (in an article about using user groups for tech support), and I have a huge fondness for the magazine. I was also one of the sysops on the ZNT:SHOPPER forum on CompuServe. To this day, I'm still friends with many of its writers, most of whom went on to far more fame and success, and one of whom became my "brother of another mother" close friend. In fact, I just finished a writing gig where I worked with one of my first editors!

Shopper was an outstanding publication to write for, as it had so much income that it could comfortably assign long, in-depth articles. The editorial staff was top notch, and I credit those people with turning me into a real journalist.

Still, as one friend opined at the time, "Writing for Computer Shopper is like writing for Playboy. They pay well, and the writing is great -- but who reads the articles?"

In any case, I think it would be hard to find anyone who kept every issue. Those suckers were big and heavy! One contributing editor told me, in the mid 90s, that she didn't subscribe to the magazine although she had an article in nearly every issue; she thought it was cruel to her postal-person.

I have only a few issues, myself. It'd be a challenge to scan them, because of the large format; it's too big for my legal-paper-size scanner.

  • 2
    Heh, funny quote. That said I read many of the articles. I was surprised at the depth of many of them, as well as the wide variety of topics.
    – RichF
    Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 22:34
  • 2
    If you have a DSLR: diybookscanner.org Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 16:46
  • 3
    "It'd be a challenge to scan them, because of the large format" - This is exactly why they need to be preserved. If everyone just shrugs because the large format is 'hard' to scan, an important piece of computing history will be lost forever.
    – Geo...
    Commented Jan 7, 2020 at 12:12

I'd think on the lines of the archive.org folks (many people has uploaded their significant magazines in the past, me included) or the Living Computer Museum.

Scanning the tabloid-sized tomes is not going to be trivial, as the size is much larger than other magazines of the period, and the paper was thin and there is a lot of leakage from the other sides of the page (this could be an interesting endeavour for the image processing folk).

Another approach is to check the nearest computer museum or library that is equipped to scan the volumes. You can volunteer some time to help do it, if they have the equipment but are a bit short in people.

  • 1
    Leakage from the reverse of the page is easy to avoid, just put a black piece of paper behind the page you're scanning. Commented Jan 5, 2022 at 22:48

I have a scanner large enough, a penchant for archival related things, and a colocated server I could throw up a site on without a second thought, given I doubt the number of people that would be interested in this would be very high.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .