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Is There Really Still a Demand for Printed Magazines?

With so many publications being produced as digital-only, it's easy for the naysayers to continue to sound the "print is dead" alarm. But the reality is, print is far from dead, and as the following examples illustrate, plenty of publishers are embracing it.

Publishing information about tech in print
Take, for example, CNET, which puts out content about futuristic technologies. Why would this tech-savvy organization move away from web-only to launch a high-quality quarterly print magazine? Because its readers evidently demanded it. As CNET Co-Editor in Chief Connie Guglielmo explains, "We're platform agnostic. It's all about the reader and how they want to consumer content."1

Making fly fishing enthusiasts happy with print
Of course, CNET is not the only publication whose readers are clamoring for print. The digital edition of Tail Fly Fishing Magazine had a readership of over 34,000, and a large percentage of these people made it clear that they wanted print. "We also completed our own independent research," adds Dr. Joe Ballarini, the magazine's founder, "which indicated that consumers really wanted a printed magazine. They want the ability to turn pages and pack a magazine for a flight or the daily commute."2

Supporting more meaningful lives with print
When you think about the fact that Conteu Magazine is all about slow living and creating a more meaningful lifestyle, it's actually surprising that it didn't start as a print publication. After all, as Chloé Kemp and Megan Rich, the magazine's founders and editors, say, "There's just something so special about print. In today's fast-paced lifestyle the idea of carving time out of your day to sit down and enjoy a magazine is something we, and others like us, crave." Their going-forward plan: continue to put out a quarterly magazine online, and add in an annual special print edition filled with unique content that cannot be accessed elsewhere.3

Meeting the needs of comic creators with print
The founders of Comicker, a digital service for comic creators, quickly realized that print will be critical to their success. Just one year after first launching their online publishing service they launched a Kickstarter campaign to get their print publishing service off the ground. "Probably halfway in we realized we needed to seriously go to print as soon as possible," said co-founder Sean Williams.4

Republishing radio content in print
Even radio shows are turning to print. The Montana Natural History Center recently published a book called "Field Notes," which is a collection of essays originally written for Montana Public Radio's program of the same name.5

Publishing your smart phone photos in print
But perhaps the prize for "most unique new idea for a print publication" should go to Recently. Recently is not a publication per se – it's an iPhone app. It takes the most recent photos that you've snapped with your iPhone and automatically turns them into a high quality printed magazine, which is then mailed directly to your home. In short, Recently solves the problem of what to do with all of those photos you take. "Our customers are loving it, as are we," states Scott Valins, founder of Recently. "The need for paper and printed content are just as essential now, if not more, then when they were the only form of visual communication."6


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1Harvey, Ellen, "Why Tech Site CNET Launched a High-Quality Print Quarterly," Publishing Executive, April 7, 2016.
2Riebel, Phil, "What do Fly Fishing and Print Media Have in Common?" Two Sides North America, July 11, 2016.
3Tennant, Jessica, "Conteu Magazine to launch special print edition," BizCommunity, October 17, 2016.
4Johnson, Eric, "Comicker heading to print," Austin Daily Herald, March 13, 2016.
5Newman, Cherie, "Field Notes Migrates From Radio to Print," Montana Public Radio, October 24, 2016.
6Riebel, Phil, "Recently: A popular new iPhone photo app exemplifies the social value of print and paper," Two Sides North America, September 8, 2016.