I’d been planning to post this in a few weeks but in light of today’s official news that Reed Business has folded 23 iconic magazines, it seemed appropriate:
In Praise Of Print
I admit I was one of the first to jump on the digital magazine concept. After moving three times in six years, getting my address updated on 50 or 60+ magazines and newspapers had become quite a hassle. Now that we’ve had several years to grow accustomed to receiving digital versions of print magazines, I’ve noticed a few things that might be useful for publishers to consider:
The ability to click on links in articles and ads is great and it’s certainly a benefit for advertisers but I don’t click them as much as I’d anticipated. Why not? Probably because I’m not actually reading the digital editions as much as I’d anticipated. Reading on screen is simply not a comfortable experience. I typically open a digital edition as soon as it arrives in my email, read the editorial, and scan the entire issue page by page. If an article warrants more in-depth reading, I print it out or simply plan to go back to it later, then close the issue and return to whatever I’d been working on. Rarely do I seem to go back to the issue. And once it’s hidden in the In Box or deleted, it’s not likely to be seen again.
Print magazines stick around. They often get read or at least skimmed and scanned several times before being discarded. A 30-day shelf life for an ad in a monthly magazine offers far more opportunities for exposure than a 30-second shelf life in a digital edition if it’s deleted. Sure, there are opportunities to forward a link to an article or ad in the digital edition but people have proven their willingness and desire to go to a Web site upon reading a print ad or article despite the inconvenience of having to type a few letters into the browser.
Thankfully, advertisers don’t need to choose in which edition their ads are to run – the digital edition is typically included at no charge. Of course, if there’s no print edition in which to advertise, everyone loses.
See the list of magazines that folded here