Business analysts have widely proclaimed that print is on its way out and that all media will soon be digitized, but they overlook information that indicates growth in the industry. Here are some signs of a revival in print:
Industry insiders advise that print marketing can be more effective than digital
Social media presence, apps and email promotions have largely taken precedence over traditional, print-based marketing strategies. But that doesn't mean your company should follow suit, Mike Leister, founder of a publication design startup, argued in a piece for Wood Street. Instead, he suggested bucking the trend. Opting to use print marketing helps you stand out, since not everyone is doing it.
Additionally, print marketing is proven to have a higher visibility rate, Bauer Media Group reported. While digital marketing can reach a larger sheer number of targets, a greater proportion of people who come across print marketing are likely to actually read the content. The source alleged that most recipients just skim through e-content, while readers of magazines view 90 percent of the pages, on average, and look at each page about 2.5 times.
While major book-selling chains like Borders have gone under, the number of independent bookstores has actually increased
Big, publicly-owned book retailers like Borders and Barnes & Noble were aggressively targeted by Amazon in the late 1990's and early 2000's, and Borders actually went bankrupt in 2011 as a result. Barnes & Noble has managed to stay in business despite declining profits and the massive success of the Amazon Kindle e-reader, but its condition is hardly stable at this point.
You might think that this is indicative of a trend that would envelop small, independently-owned bookstores, as well. On the contrary, author and industry commentator Zachary Karabell contended in an article for Slate, small bookstores have actually seen growth in both the number of stores – up 20 percent between 2009 and 2014 – and profits – up 8 percent between 2011 and 2014, an increase that outperformed the rest of the book retail industry.
So what are these small companies doing right? It's simple, Karabell said: They didn't try (and fail) to compete with Amazon, as Barnes & Noble did with its Nook e-reader, and they didn't attempt to model other retail stores, which have to constantly update their inventory and dispose of out-of-date products to remain relevant. Both Borders and Barnes & Noble took this approach, instead of selling stockholders on the premise that readers often purchase old, classic books in a variety of forms, and not exclusively the newest, hottest fiction novel on the market.
Meanwhile, indie bookstores continue to capitalize on a niche market that doesn't allow for them to grow into big franchises – but, Karabell argued, staying out of public markets is actually a good thing, since they can thrive without investor pressure forcing ill-advised business moves.
Magazines are immensely popular with younger consumers
If someone were to ask you which age range most appreciates print content, particularly the long-form writing of magazines, you'd probably guess baby boomers or retirees, right? Well, you'd probably want to take another guess. In the United Kingdom, 15 to 24-year-olds are most likely to read magazines, and a startling 91 percent regularly do so, according to Bauer Media Group. With a primarily young readership base, the future of print magazines doesn't seem to project gloom and doom, as some would have you believe.
The Great Bend Tribune equated contemporary predictions of print's complete and utter demise with earlier such postulates dating as far back to 1890, when French journalist Octavo Uzanne hit the panic button in response to Thomas Edison's invention of the phonograph. Amusingly enough, in 2015 the phonograph is obsolete, and print is reinventing itself as a multi-billion-dollar industry.
Research concludes that reading something in print leads to higher comprehension levels
In an interview with the Great Bend Tribune, Tufts University Center for Reading and Language director Maryanne Wolf attested that one of the main reasons people, especially students, prefer printed text over digital is that it's more conducive to information retention.
"It's not that you can't do deep reading on a screen, we're talking about the ease of how you get into it," Wolf said. "The emphases are different. Amid all the interruptions on a screen, we are actually diminishing the amount of words we really take in when we read."
Consumers appear to be realizing and understanding this concept, and the evidence is in the sales – as previously mentioned, indie bookstores have seen growth in profits and expansion in the industry. Just as the phonograph, television and audio books didn't kill print, but rather evolved to serve different, sometimes complementary purposes, the future of digital media appears to be heading for coexistence with print, rather than domination over it.