In today’s blog we are going to take a look at a topic which is relevant to publishers the world over, as you may have guessed from the title, we are going to examine whether print magazines are on their last legs or if it is no more than a cyclical lull and there’s life in the old dog yet.
Print magazines have been a part of our lives for centuries; one the first recorded examples of a magazine was in Germany in 1663 when ‘Erbauliche Monaths Unterredungen’ (Edifying Monthly Discussions), a creation of Johann Rist, a theologian and poet of Hamburg, was released. Print has been around for some considerable time and despite their recent woes I personally think they will continue to stay around, just not to the same extent or perhaps the same form as their illustrious past.
What are my reasons for saying this?
Well, think of it this way, you are most likely, at this very minute, reading this blog on a tablet, smartphone or PC. The way in which we digest and receive information has changed beyond recognition in recent decades, the driving force behind these changes?
The internet and the connected devices we use to view it.
Recent studies have highlighted just how much of an impact these devices have had on our content digestion habits and on our lives in general, the rise of the smartphone and the tablet has been nothing short of meteoric and looks likely to continue in the same trajectory. Such is their influence that it is sometimes hard to imagine what life was like before them. The biggest resource available to us in the present day, the biggest library we have ever known and the most accessible; can be found in pockets and handbags throughout the land in the guise of smartphones and tablets.
So where does this leave the printed word?
One would be forgiven for writing off print altogether, not only would this be unfair but it would be unwise. Print may never scale the apex it once did but this doesn’t mean it will slowly die and fade into obscurity. Indeed a recent article in The Guardian highlighted this very fact when they spoke of a new breed of magazine, one which fully employs the characteristics and qualities of the new wave of printed magazine, clever use of paper, textures that ask to be touched and stunning imagery enable them to stand apart from the industry norm.
While they may never reach the level of print runs enjoyed by their forefathers, these new magazines highlight that there remains a market for such niche publications, not only this but crucially they sell and distribute online, they crowd fund online, they are using the internet and the advantages it offers to them. Rather than see the internet as a threat they are using it to their advantage, in adversity is borne creativity as the saying goes.
Publishers have to embrace modern technology such as digital publications to supplement their existing business; they have to utilize any and all means available to them to not just keep their head above the parapet but to grow and prosper. Digital and print should dovetail with one another, complement one another, not be seen as a threat to one another. Connected devices have changed our digestion habits irrevocably and publishers have to adjust their approach to reflect this change, they have to position themselves where the consumer is and that place is increasingly online.
Is it time you produced your publications online?
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