In a world where you’re never far away from a laptop, tablet and smart phone, it’s easy to see why some feel as though print could become a dying form. As online content is very often free and ready to access any time, many are questioning the relevance of print media in an online world.

Despite these factors, print is still going strong. Editors of various publications have spoken out in defence of the once universally popular form, and while smart devices remain exclusive to those on reasonably high pay packets, it’s unlikely to be going anywhere soon.

“You can’t read an iPad in the bath”

MagazinesGrazia editor Jane Bruton was reported by The Guardian of discussing the lasting power of print at the Professional Publisher’s Conference recently, defending the magazines choice to continue in print.

Speaking to the conference, Bruton said: “I think there will always be a place for magazines. You can’t take an iPad into the bath. You can’t get that tactile feel and pictures are still not the same o the screen.”

When discussing the presence of stories and articles online, Bruton said she felt as though the content of a magazine will always offer something unique and shaped to the reader, which cannot be found online:

[Many of these] stories are out there [online], but we add spirit, tone and personality to reflect who our reader is and what she wants. You can’t get that by typing a word into a search engine.”

Why is printed media still popular?

It’s not just popular media and culture which finds a place in print still; anyone with a letter box will be familiar with the printed catalogues which seem to be posted at regular intervals by businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Despite the neat nature of a website, many customers still prefer the experience of a printed catalogue. In fact, according to Forbes, a recent survey found that 95% of customers would choose a printed catalogue over an online version.

The very nature of reading a print catalogue is also key to its lasting success; the customer is able to interact with the pages in a relaxed way, making marks on interesting products and browse the pages at leisure.

Some companies have taken advantage of both the print and online space by offering customers a choice in how they browse products. Colin Medwynter, Managing Director of Focus Business Media, which – among other publications – still runs a print issue for Truck Locator [1], commented:

"Our printed Truck and Plant Locator Weekly Magazine continues to generate great responses for advertisers – if it didn't work, there wouldn't be 128 advertising pages each week packed with trucks and plant for sale.

We mail 10,000 copies a week to truck operators – when the magazine lands on a truck operator's desk and they are considering a new truck we know that they read it. This can be done at their leisure – whether on a rest break when driving a truck, over lunch or a little light bedtime reading!

Ditching the print

While many companies still employ print, Argos has taken the surprising step to produce its first online ‘digitised paper’ catalogue, following on from their recently-established smart phone ordering and reserving system.

While users are able to interact with the products on their smart devices, some customers are sure to feel excluded by the system, as the legendary tome of a catalogue is phased out. Half of the population may own a smart phone, though this of course means that half do not and those who struggle with technology may choose to take their business elsewhere.


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