Why Digital is Going Print & Magazines are Here to Stay

By Leah Waltersporter-28

There’s no denying the value of digital media; the possibilities are virtually endless, it’s immediate, and interactive content is a crowd-pleaser. Over the last decade, magazines have been racing to keep up with web and social media demands and today these are integral to a magazine’s brand.

But print media is not dead. If anything, it’s making a comeback. Between October 2013 and September 2014,  the industry saw  a total of 862 magazine launches. Sure, they’re not all going to survive,  but it’s promising that so many people are dedicating creative energy and resources to print. It’s also notable that the first half of the year saw more launches than closures. Slowly print is regaining ground.

The real thrill is that so many digital entities are successfully making the foray into print. Last year’s big success story was Meredith’s “Allrecipes” title, which ventured into print after the publisher acquired the well-established recipe website. After just 10 months in print, its circulation grew to 900,000.

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Meredith CEO Steve Lacy called the move “reverse engineering.” And it’s working for other titles too. Of Media Industry Newsletter’s “30 Hottest Launches of the Year”, five titles originated on the web. “One“, “Politico“, “Pando Quarterly”, “Porter”, and “The Pitchfork Review” all made a splash.

Brand recognition has afforded these digital titles the opportunity to revert to print, which is a method the publishing industry hasn’t seen before. To be fair, there is reason for skepticism: Net-a-Porter, for example, is already a thriving e-commerce company, so what more can print offer it?

Sure there’s advertising revenue, but these trendsetting publishing professionals could be on to something more. In the debut issue of “One”, the editors refer to modern times as a post-digital era. It sounds like a post-apocalyptic fiction, but there’s some merit to the idea. We’ve become so bombarded by digital media that it’s hard to escape. Anymore, it’s tough to separate reputable stories from vacuous content. The internet is a wormhole of information. Print on the other hand is authoritative.

Or maybe consumers are simply longing for the tactile experience–I for one love the weight and feeling of a magazine. In any case, digital-to-print is trending right now and it will be exciting to see if that holds true in the near future.

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8 responses to “Why Digital is Going Print & Magazines are Here to Stay

  1. This is potentially awesome news! Right now it’s hard to imagine a time when digital publications aren’t swallowing print at a rapid rate, but the shift over from digital sounds promising. I’m not sure this will even begin to make up for all the setbacks faced by print publications in the face of the internet, but it’s refreshing to know that people still enjoy a tangible piece of creative expression in a renewed medium.

  2. As a magazines major this is such exciting news for me. Whenever I’m reading a magazine I see the ad (I think from a magazine council) about how magazines are flourishing in the market today. To me there is a big difference between online magazines and print content, and I think that the technological advances can only bolster these journalistic works.

  3. This really makes me happy! It’s amazing to see magazines that were once web-only start appearing on shelves. The fact that there have been more launches than closures is really good to hear. Journalism isn’t dying– it’s reinventing itself.

  4. I have been noticing this and love it! I have always thought the way a magazine feels and looks in person is unbeatable. Hearing that they are going to stick around makes me truly excited.

  5. This is really exciting to read! I have been and always will be a fan of print. There’s something that I just love about holding a magazine in my hand and reading it. Reading articles online just isn’t the same. I would love to see how these attempts work out. I’m hoping for the best!

  6. I love the idea of print journalism making a comeback (down with e-readers!), but I’m not convinced that this is a reversal of the overall trend of print shifting to digital. I would love it if it was, but there’s still a lot of issues with print that are easily solved with digital media- e.g., printing costs, USPS probably dying in a few years, etc.

    I do hope I’m wrong in this regard- like I said, I enjoy print materials far more than digital ones. And I will argue to the death that books are superior to e-books.

  7. It upset me years ago when people said that magazines were dying and just going to print, so hearing this is a big way to say “told you so,” because they were wrong! I firmly believe that our society is slowly going back to the way things were. People are picking up knitting again, and all things old fashioned. Criticism about youngsters being on their phones too much is coming more loud, and I think people are slowly realizing that magazines and news paper are a dying trend that need a comeback.

  8. Never did I think that print journalism would completely vanish, but I did feel like there was starting to be a downfall of it. This is great news, especially for people like myself that don’t like reading things on a computer screen. Yes, it is nice to have magazines online so you can read them at any time with the click of the button, but it is also nice to have it in print where it is larger and easier to read.

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