Guest Columnist: It's the Publishing Model—Not Print—That's Dead
We live in interesting times. That statement reminds me of the day I was in a hospital bed surrounded by a team of doctors. They were telling each other, “This is an interesting case.” I looked up at the doctors and said, “For a journalist, anything interesting (case, times, etc.) means you have no earthly idea what is going on.” The same can be said today about the publishing industry in general and the magazine industry in particular. We live in interesting times. Not a single day passes by that you do not read a prediction of the demise of print. “The end is near!” proclaim the prophets of doom and gloom. They are quick to point to the demise of Country Home, Domino and Cosmo Girl!, among others. They use those RIPs and obituaries to pontificate that print is on its way out. It will soon be replaced by some fancy sheet of plastic that will be the be-all, end-all to all things print. This new technology will replace your magazine, your newspaper and even your books. Think how light your backpack will be once that happens.
Well, the nice thing about the predictions of the prophets of doom and gloom is that is all they are: predictions. In my book, two people, with no third, can tell you the future: God and a fool. And I know these prognosticators are not God, so if you are willing to listen to fools, then you need not read this column.
I only deal with promises that I can keep. Promises that are made based on years of experience tracking the magazine field, observing the changes (change is the only constant in our business) and commenting on the industry as an outsider looking in. And you know what? There is a lot of talk about change in our industry today.
Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D. is the founder and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media. He is also Professor and Hederman Lecturer at the School of Journalism. As Mr. Magazine™ he engages in media consulting and research for the magazine media and publishing industry.