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Mr. Magazine's M.O. : A Fickle Mistress

The best way to legitimize digital is to recognize the primacy of print.

November 2012 By Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni
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Rebecca Darwin, president and CEO of Garden & Gun Magazine, was a speaker at this year's ACT III Experience at the University of Mississippi and is adamant in her belief in print. She agreed with Mary Berner, the new president and CEO of MPA-The Association of Magazine Media, in saying it is "absolutely the case" that we need to stop apologizing for magazines.

Print is the cornerstone of publishing, and while it uses and complements additional bricks in the pavement, it is the piece that holds the publishing family together. It is the mortar that binds. It is proven and sustainable, the beginning and end when it comes to publishing. All things in between— digital, iPads, mobile, etc.—are mere daughters, sons and cousins of print.

In the boudoir of many publishing houses, you will find the temptress Digital roaming the halls. Many successful publications develop the itch to stray from their magnanimous partner, Print, and fall into the beguiling arms of Digital by herself, without that root of print, just because everyone else is doing it. My thoughts on this: Never be a follower, always be a leader. Newsweek will prove me right about that. It's only a matter of time.

And speaking of Time, try telling that highly successful publication it doesn't need print in its family portrait.

What I am getting at here is this: Digital is not for every magazine or publication on the newsstands. Does In Style really need an app to showcase those long-legged, beautiful models with their designer clothes draped across their bodies? I think not. Print knows how to treat a lady.

And then there are the technical issues: Downloads that are huge and take forever to load. Resolution problems. Controls that are very slow to respond. Pagination issues; the list goes on.

With print, you have no such problems. But what you do have is a high-quality publication that feels fantastic in your hands. It's all about the experience. If magazines were only an exercise in reading, then digital would be fine and dandy. However, true magazines are experience-makers and not just content providers.


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