Print is Not Dead

May 3, 2016

 

In spite of the rapid migration from paper to digital devices, owned by pretty much most households, some still find it freeing to get away from that glow of their screens to enjoy a good old fashioned print magazine. The current generation may be gravitating towards instant digital gratification, but the pursuit of that new paper smell of freshly printed books and magazines to flip through has yet belated the predicted digital apocalypse over print media.

    

Modern day generations spend most of the time each day looking at devices, at work as well as home and used to the instant gratification of having material right at hand. One no longer has to drive anywhere or wait for a subscription to arrive in the mail if they choose to. Media material can even reach readers worldwide with an instant click, broadening any publication’s exposure so much more than before. An analyst for min’s b2b reports his interview with Glenn Hansen, CEO and president of BPA Worldwide, explaining advantages for publications going digital: “Many publishers use the format as an inexpensive way to distribute publications to international audiences, and some publishers are beginning to use the format for custom publishing projects. ‘Media buyers have not been using it to its fullest potential’" (”Digital Magazines Keep Growing”). The electronic edition idea is only just taking off basically. More progress on improvements are to be expected while media publishers as well as electronics manufacturers work together on next-generation devices that will bring more color and resolution to portable devices, simulating the paper experience but retaining all the advantages of digital distribution.

 

Timing and convenience may win in the case of digital publishing, no doubt, but the material viewed online has also started to lose its significance and lacking presentation and design, becoming more streamlined. Printed words and complimenting images are fixed on a book or magazine, especially if it is very important that both go together. Digital media, for most, may have “too many moving parts.” An observation by New Library World comments about the observation of a huge increase of sales of fiction books in an e-format since these books do not demand a fixed relationship between running text and illustrations. But they also continue to explain that: “Electronic schoolbooks are different and similarly to scientific books: the option of screen rotation, or switch between portrait and landscape modes, plays often havoc with the page layout in cases where lay-out is essential, as indeed it is in many fields” (”Reading and Learning from Screens Versus Print: A Study in Changing Habits”).  The printed book is less complicated and organized design in print is fixed while digital media can get crowded and confusing.

 

Profit made on advertising published digitally have soared giving companies a better count  of readers actually being reached and allowing a better idea of targeted consumers defined by age group, location an more . Hansen explains later on in his interview the advertising advantages in digital media: “An email distribution of an electronic edition can have its open rate and click-through rate measured, so an advertiser might know precisely how many people are actively reading a publication” (”Digital Magazines Keep Growing”). In a print edition, the copy is sent out without any firm metric behind how many readers opened it, let alone read specific pages. The only calculations available to the advertisers on a print magazine is the quantity of issues sold but that does not necessarily mean an ad was actually paid that much attention to.

 

However, the affect a digital advertisement can be less powerful then a print advertisement.  Temple University consumer neuroscience researchers’ conducted a series of experiments and found significant difference in the way human brain processes ads in print or digital format. Their newer research showed that content on paper affects brain in different and more powerful ways. In an article by Roger Dooley for Neurosciencemarketing he writes a series of interesting findings from the experiments with results showing that digital ads were processed more quickly and paper ads engaged viewers for more time. What was even more interesting was that a week later, subjects showed greater emotional response and memory for physical media ads, and also physical ads caused more activity in brain areas associated with value and desire (”Print vs. Digital: Another Emotional Win for Paper”). Digital advertising is not that much better off that print. In the end it is the matter of choosing between the quantity or quality of readers reached. An effective print advertisement can and will drive digital purchases.

 

            Digital media is not done developing yet and more progress will be made. Companies are merely just investing their advertising allowance into transferring and adjusting to the new custom and basic form of digital advertising. Hansen emphases that the best is yet to come as digital advertising goes. "The ads will become more creative," says Hansen. "As advertisers put video together and apply it to digital magazines, it makes what it was meant to be. When that happens it will be a much richer user experience" (“Digital Magazines Keep Growing”). There will be astonishing developments where digital advertising goes that will certainly keep attracting more companies to invest in and keeping the “microchip” generation with their hands in wallets.

 

            Neuroscientists still find that digital design development is not enough to wipe out print. They realize through neuroscientific researches being done, that humans are sensory species who love to have sensors stimulated. Daniel Dejan, print and creative manager for Sappi Fine Paper presented a workshop for The American Marketing Association to prove that print is not only alive but has a bright future and he has the evidence to back it up. He explains that after individuals get used to their phone or tablet, the weight, size and temperature of it becomes monolithic, only stimulating two senses, which is a certain visual aspect and an auditory aspect. And that is not even guaranteed unless it is done in a certain manner. In contrast, Dejan said print stimulates four senses. "With print, I can change the paper, the color of the paper, texture, weight," he said. In fact, paper quality and special effects such as foil stamping, embossing, engraving and die cutting can increase sales numbers. "The more I use those techniques ... it increases sales by 18 percent," Dejan said. "The recipient puts a much higher value on the content. In fact, it increases the perception of the quality of the company doing it" (“Neuroscientific Research, National Study show Print is Not Dead”). One simply cannot underestimate the pleasure of the freshly printed book smell with shiny gold leaf embossing and interesting die cuts which sets a print book to a much higher standard than the electronic device would ever do. 

 

Content makes a great difference for reader’s preference between digital or print. Buying office supplies is easier to do online since readers really do not need to connect emotionally with the content. A 670 page catalog of office supplies would be quiet boring to look through just to make a purchase. Print is less important for utilitarian purchases, such as categories with many SKUs, items where distinctive branding is less important, items that don’t benefit from compelling images (“Print vs. Digital: Another Emotional Win for Paper”). Shopping low-emotion products digitally is more convenient and business news such as the stock exchange is delivered in a timelier manner on digital devices.

 

However print is more effective while readers are looking at a full page print of beautiful fine photography, the latest fashions shown off by the finest models, amazing interior decorating, luxurious designed items and distinctive brands. These are all considered as high-emotion subjects. Looking at these same amazing photos loses significance if a viewer has to scroll and pinch and zoom on a tiny screen. Psychological studies also revealed that readers are more emotionally engaged to printed media. “Not only will print be able to communicate the unique properties of the offering, it will allow greater emotional impact to drive purchases” (“Print vs. Digital: Another Emotional Win for Paper”). Most of the photographers want to show “the big picture” and there is no better way to deliver that than in print.

 

The convenience of instant and over load of digital media may have taken readers by storm… for a while, but it is not shutting down the entire print industry any time soon. One can certainly be attracted to all that digital media has to offer, with more interaction and amusement on a device. But print couldn’t just be classified as an old fashioned media method and put behind us. Digital media may have challenged print publishers into creating better and more attractive designed books and magazines and so far it has been a challenge well met. Print still remains a better quality source of media, honoring anyone who read their name in print and it will stick around for a lot longer than thought by many!

 

Works Cited

Dewey, Charlsie. "Neuroscientific Research, National Study show Print is Not Dead." Grand Rapids Business Journal 33.3 (2015): 5. ProQuest. Web. 6 Dec. 2015.

"Digital Magazines Keep Growing." MIN's B 2 B 12.14 (2009) ProQuest. Web. 27 Nov. 2015.

Dooley, Roger. "Print vs. Digital: Another Emotional Win for Paper." Neuroscience marketing July 8, 2015. Google. Web.

6 Dec. 2015 .

Stoop, Judith, Paulien Kreutzer, and Joost Kircz. "Reading and Learning from Screens Versus Print: A Study in Changing Habits." New Library World 114.7 (2013): 284-300. ProQuest. Web. 6 Dec. 2015.

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