Is Print Dead?
I was recently asked in an e-mail from a renowned editor whether I believe print is dead.
No, I replied. But today the magazine industry is in such a huge state of transition that I think it is greatly misunderstood. The death and dying inquiry may be more of a mental condition rather than a physical malady. Print is not dying, it is merely diminishing. And that would hurt anyone’s ego.
I believe that at the end of this particular technologic cycle of dramatic change, there will be super opportunities and an era of great publishing expansion. That would be the expansion of the written word, delivered in multiple methods, to various devices, only one of which is paper. Twenty years ago, there were just three methods of reaching out to the public at large—television, radio and print. How many pathways are there today?
In the coming years, the magazine industry will be at the mercy of a public facing ever more media choices. No matter how many media choices there are today, it will double tomorrow.
As the options continue to multiply, the task of capturing the attention of readers will be tougher than ever. New delivery methods, combined with the potential for unique personalized customization, promise to shake up the industry’s established and less mobile players. So what? This is nothing new, and has happened from the very first capitalistic moment. Business models change over time, and the established players either change or get shoved aside.
The fact that I can write this as I am, on an island in a lake, in a very rural area, and it is transmitted globally through an Internet blog is statement enough for those smart enough to see the pixels through the trees.