Print - Surviving the Digital Age

Posted by Donna Weller, 16th March 2018 at 11:13am

As is the case with books, there’s a place for print magazines. Books didn’t die when ereaders came along and print magazines continue to thrive, despite digital subscriptions.

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Last year, ABC figures showed sales of certain titles are increasing, with news and current affairs titles benefiting. Experts put this down to uncertainty. In the Brexit/Trump era, readers crave reputable titles that contain content written by trusted and respected names, rather than any old bog-standard blogger with an opinion.

The Economist and The Spectator, for example, sold more per issue between January and June 2017 than they did for the same time the previous year.

In an analysis of the trend, a BBC report said such magazines have an "intelligent take on events" and that’s their unique selling point. General interest daily news content has been turned into "an almost universally available commodity by the internet", but specialist journalism is still a service people value and think they can’t get elsewhere.

Fake news is the term du jour. When disreputable websites can take on the look of the respectable, then where do people get their ‘real’ news? The trend suggests they turn to print.

Print also enjoys higher production values. The blink-and-you-miss-it nature of the internet means content quality often suffers. Even websites such as the BBC and the Guardian will have pages where copy editing and proof-reading has been done as a rush job.

In contrast, the words and images you see in a print magazine have been lavished with care and attention. Has the precise word been employed to convey meaning? Are apostrophes in all the right places? If compound sentences are used, are they correctly punctuated? Are the pictures in focus, clear and the right size?

Books survived the e-reader. Avid readers flock to airport stores and bookshops to buy hard copies. The print magazine offers a different experience to reading something online— quality and ease of reading. In addition, the audience for niche market B2B publications look for specialist information and opinions and they’re prepared to for it to be in print form.

The smart publisher says vive la difference, watches trends carefully and embraces them.