With all our tablets, Kindles and Nooks, and with magazines and newspapers crying poverty (and reporters being let go) you would think that the question, “Is Print Dead”, a moot one. However, the September 2014 issue of Vogue Magazine (print version that is!) had a very eye opening article about how people are rallying back to good old-fashioned print. In “The Fine Print” Robert Sullivan writes that “Despite the long-trumpeted rise of digital media, a handful of New York women are championing conventional print – be it in the form of magazines, stationery, or good old-fashioned books.” Especially for invites, which are so personal, people are seeking a way to catch the reader’s attention and nothing can do it better than a snail mail one.
The article discusses how Paperless Post, originally started as a means to send beautiful invitations through e-mail, has, gasp, gone to offering non-paperless (ah, a new word!) posts! Alexa Hirschfeld, says “You don’t have to use paper now, so when you do, the medium has more gravity than it used to.”
In 2012 Newsweek folded. Newsweek! A magazine that was around for decades. Indeed, that must have heralded the death of print media. (read my article “Is Print Dead? Newsweek Thinks So!” written in 2012) However, two years later we are seeing the magazine industry coming alive with the printing of glossy, limited editions, niche magazines. The Vogue article profiles two: Modern Farmer, and Cherry Bombe.
How can a print magazine like Modern Farmer be successful? Ann Marie Gardner, the editor says, “People want something beautiful, and people are tactile.” She also feels that print locks in conversations from social media platforms that would otherwise float away into the ether. And it does help that it targets a niche that is hungry for information in a great visual package.
The other magazine, Cherry Bombe, targets women and food. It is a biannual print magazine that presents mouthwatering photos of food printed on expensive paper stock. Add to that excellent writing and you have a print item that crosses into the artistic.
Small bookstores are also thriving and expanding into other areas of the printed realm. Sarah McNally owns the bookstore McNally Jackson in Manhattan’s Nolita area. She has big plans for an expansion into the print world of lithographs, Risographs, and letterpress posters.
So it turns out that in this second decade of the 21st century print is alive and well. It’s become one of the number of choices we now have when deciding on how to communicate our messages. Many businesses choose to cover all bases, just as Vogue magazine does by publishing both a printed and a digital version each month. Unlike the tagline “Paper or Plastic”, with print you can select one or have both!