Sure being able to download an issue of GQ to your e-reader minutes before hitting the beach is handy. So is browsing The New Yorker on your iPad while waiting at the doctor’s office. But let’s not get so carried away announcing print’s demise quite yet.
Digital media in all forms surrounds us. There’s an app for everything, and information is just a touch pad away. But over and over again, Kindle owners or not, people continue subscribing to the daily paper and buying glossy magazines off newsstand racks. According to a study done by Mediamark Research & Intelligence (MRI), 93% of adults in this country read magazines. And the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) indicates that more than 100 million adults read a printed newspaper on an average weekday, more than 115 million on a Sunday. Compare that with the 94 million who watch the Super bowl.
As a publisher of visitors guides all over the country, Madden is in a unique position on this subject: We publish dozens of magazine-style visitors guides, but we also create mobile apps, and digital magazine editions for clients. The key seems that it can’t be an either/or thing. There’s so much quickly changing technology in this field, any publisher would be remiss not to capitalize on it, find ways to use it in conjunction with the classic printed page. And so far it appears those willing to utilize the two together, to strengthen their product, will come out on top.
During the dot com boom it was seen as a possible end to brick and mortar stores. If folks could shop from a laptop in their pajamas, why attack Christmas lists or back-to-school shopping amongst crowds, flu seasons, and parking nightmares? Well, the last time I went to the mall, I’d wager nothing has changed there. And for the big box stores overflowing in e-commerce like Target? It seems they have a healthy business both online and in actual physical stores. The same applies to digital media in the print world, and vice versa.
Last spring 10 publishing powerhouses came together, launching an ad campaign to battle a mythical end of magazines. One ad spells out “Just as movies didn’t kill radio. Just as TV didn’t kill movies. An established medium can continue to flourish as long as it continues to offer a unique experience.” That resounds in what we’ve found in surveys of our travel guide readers: the digital options are great, but having an actual guide in your hands you can tuck into your backpack while traveling is priceless.
Can’t we all just get along?