Pixels and Print – Working in Unison
Interestingly, the publishing, printing and mailing industry have been wringing their hands for some time now on the frontal assault by the electronic age.
There is no question that the onslaught of e-readers and the Internet has been a double-barreled assault on the industry. In publishing, not even the best breaking stories and the fastest possible delivery can outrun and evenly compete with the Internet. The faster we push to get a story out to the readers, the faster these same readers whip out their smart phones, sit down at one of countless Internet cafes and Wi-Fi hotspots to get the same news before the ink gets on paper, let alone dries. Even catalogers can't get their sale papers out before the wireless deluge reaches the public.
Some industry folks think it is time to toss in the towel and ride off into the proverbial sunset. Others have found ways to combat this by making use of the old adage of "sleeping with the enemy," using its original meaning of getting to your enemy's camp and sharing a meal and a place by the fire to learn how to get the advantage to win a fight.
Ways to make the two work together can be demonstrated by using the Internet to highlight images and headlines associated with the in-depth story being told. Pairing that view of the story with an in-depth print edition of the content can be a selling point encouraging both digital and print versions of a title. Conversely, you can have a pictorially heavy magazine refer the reader to the Internet for an in-depth story of the same material.
For the news magazines and the newspaper industry, the Internet can be used to take the stories in print and update them online, so not only does the reader get a story on a news event but gets to see the instant update as a digital follow-up
Lastly, print media can contain advertising that is enhanced by sound chips and LED lighting to draw a reader to a product or service being advertised. The newest versions even allow miniature flat screen renditions that play 30 to 60 second videos of products and services. Postal Service content rules revised for periodicals last September allow many of these enhancements to be sent at periodicals rates, and the USPS is willing to look at all ideas.
Don't send print and publishing quietly into that good night. No matter how many devices are out there, a large part of the populace doesn't have them and most would enjoy the story in print and video. To paraphrase Monty Python, "We're not dead yet!"
Ed Mayhew worked for the Postal Service for 37 years, becoming one of the most recognized experts on periodicals mail in the country. Ed was a part of the Rates and Classification Service Center (RCSC), ending his career as a Classification Specialist in the New Pricing and Classification Service Center in New York City. He has written rulings, instructions and articles for postal publications, appeared as an expert witness in court, a rebuttal witness for the Postal service at the Postal Rate Commission, co-authored postal handbooks and applications, and was the RCSC coordinator for six postage rate cases.
He is the 2002 winner of the Angelo R. Venizian award for contributions to the publishing industry, the first postal winner of that award in its history.
Ed has made training videos appearing on radio and TV, speaks at numerous seminars and is an 11-time top National Postal Forum speaker. He is founder and president of consultancy Eddie Mayhew’s Classification Station. Contact Ed at 973-462-5662, E-Mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @eddiemclass.