Never Fear, Print Is Still Here

Robin Brun, Senior Designer

There has been a lot of talk lately that print is dying. The Internet has obviously played a huge role in the death of newspapers around the world, but that may be due more to the fact that once you get your newspaper, the news is already old. With introduction of smartphones and laptops there is no need to wait. You can get the latest news, literally at your fingertips, for free.

Online news organizations are trying to figure out a way to increase profits but not all of the attempts are successful. According to an article in the Guardian, less than three weeks after The Times began to charge members to use the site, they lost 90% of their online readership. This may be a matter of finding a model that works and that consumers are willing to pay for.

The last year or two has seen the demise of many magazines too. And while some publications are moving to an online-only presence, it is highly unlikely that magazines will fade into complete oblivion even as they restructure. Samir Arora, CEO of fashion Web site Glam.com is among the many who profess a love of magazines, and he agrees “traditional media” outlets are not going away any time soon. There’s something special and unique, even luxurious, about reading a big, glossy magazine. Or, in the words of Marie Claire editor Joanna Coles “As long as people take baths, there will always be a monthly magazine.” While fashion magazines will likely always have an audience, traditional trade publications may have a tougher time. The recent trend has been to cut print advertising budgets dramatically and go with more in-depth, online initiatives. Time will tell what impact this has on trade publications moving forward.

In the world of marketing, there certainly has been an increase in Web and multimedia work and a decrease in the amount of print material. For awhile, direct mail took a hit because sending out blanket direct mail and not paying attention to the recipients’ roles, does NOT work in today’s digital information age. But recently, there has been a return to the tried and true benefits of sending a physical mailer when tied with personalized, customized marketing approaches. Might be a result of our inboxes getting overloaded, or it could be that marketers are finally realizing that it’s all about knowing and relating to audiences in as personalized manner as possible. When direct mail is done in conjunction with highly targeted information that speaks directly to an individual’s pain points, it really works.

The world of publishing is in a constant state of flux, but the good news is that print is not dead. It remains to be seen what the future will bring but I believe there are still those, myself included, who enjoy the tactile experience that goes along with reading a good book on the beach or curling up on the couch with a magazine.