The war between print and digital has been going on for awhile now, and that comes as no surprise, since the whole world is moving towards digital. We live in an online world. Think about how we consume information, nowadays. Not many people are listening to the radio or looking up at billboards. In fact, you can hear music, get your news, and see ads all online. Gone are the days of people willingly choosing to physically go in stores to shop. Today, people are choosing to conveniently order groceries online at Shipt.com or other platforms and have them delivered in an hour. Many people are choosing to play various games online at websites such as Skyvegas.com, instead of navigating to crowded casinos. Also, the dating pool is slightly curved, whereas, those people who once went out to meet potential dates are now choosing to use Match. Everything is changing and becoming digital, and since everything is surely moving towards online, many wonder if there is even a future for the world of print magazines.
A paper, printed magazine has to be printed, distributed, and then sold in stores. These three processes, incur a cost. Not only that, but unsold copies of the magazines represent a loss for the publisher. On the contrary, digital magazines, allow publishers to distribute their magazines on the web, without having to pay suppliers and sellers. Even though paying suppliers isn’t part of the equation for digital magazines, there are other costs involved with online magazines. The costs include editorial creation, content creation, design, software, circulation, marketing, and hosting. With just thinking about these facts, it seems that both hold their own unique costs, but printed magazines hold the most risk in terms of cost.
How did one influence the other?
Ever since digital made its appearance, people have been saying that print magazines are going to be extinct. However, this rumor has been going on for a while for awhile, and still, book printing services are still very profitable. The main reason for this is due to different modalities. Different things apply to a different targeted groups of people. While the more artsy, old school type individual would choose to enjoy a good hard or paperback book because of its feel and smell, the more younger generation and tech savvy individual prefers digital or E-book. There is plenty of room for everyone and plenty to choose from regardless of one’s specific preference. Even still, why can’t people just enjoy both? Why does it have to be a battle against the two? Take a look at Sports Illustrated, for example. The famous sports magazine started off with just one printed issue a month, and nowadays, they have both. A few years ago, they decided to cut the print-only subscriptions. This way, they encouraged their readers to purchase both of them, so that they could experience their content in different ways. It paid off since Sports Illustrated is still one of the best selling magazines in America.
What’s unique about each?
When you think about why people prefer printed magazines and books over digital, you mostly think about the feel and smell of it. The people who prefer print over digital, are in love with the touch, smell, and feel of a book on their fingertips. If there’s one thing that digital magazines are missing, that would more than likely be it. However, on the other hand, digital magazines have a lot more to offer. For example, one of the most useful things about them is the fact that it allows the reader to go further with finding more information whenever needed. Whether you want the definition of a word, more understanding of the meaning of a paragraph, and links to important information. Digital materials usually provide a source or a link in order for the reader to learn more about it in a larger piece, such as an article. Of course, you can cite on paper, too, but you can’t do it instantly.
Past, present, future
If we were to designate a certain era to each, we would definitely pick the past for print and the present for digital, but what does the future hold? What is going to happen in the future when it comes to digital vs print? We’ve already established that print is what most are used to and still sells largely in stores. While, digital is more convenient and allows users to dig deeper into what they’re reading. Even with these facts, digital magazines are just not going anywhere because everyone consumes information online. Technology keeps steadily evolving and is more prevalent and involved in our everyday lives. The co-existence is already being molded, since a lot of magazines are playing on both fields. Huge, popular magazines such as Allure, Vogue, Essence, and Women’s Health have both a digital and print magazine option available. This will more than likely be the future for all magazines to cater to a wider demographic.