Much as printed books seem to have survived the Kindle craze, print magazines are likely to live on long after the digital frenzy has calmed down. So says Gracy Olmstead in The American Conservative as she offers up some encouraging words for magazine publishers.
She gives some good advice for publishers, suggesting they “take a cue from print books’ relative success, and mimic their selling points in order to survive this digital trend.”
First on the list? Maximize the experience for readers, giving them more of what they love about print.
“Print fans don’t merely read for the words on the page—they savor the very smell, texture, and sight associated with print books,” she writes.
“Similarly, magazines can meet or even exceed the appeal of online experience through the power of visual and sensory mediums.”
Cover design plays a huge role in this too, with the ability to instantly capture attention and draw the reader in. The magazine, like the book, becomes a thing of beauty and an object to collect and treasure. The digital version is simply consumed, possibly bookmarked, but with no inherent lasting value.
And once more, we hear the mantra that in order to stay relevant as a medium, a printed magazine must focus on producing content that begs to stick around.
“It must not only have good, strong, consistent content—it must also have timeless content, superseding mere paltry observations on the fickle political or cultural atmosphere of the day,” says Olmstead. “Also, magazines that serve as curators—of art, food, or culture, for instance—stand the test of time by serving as a reference book to their readers.”
Finally, she reminds us that publishers must do more than simply post their printed versions in digital format to lure subscribers. The mediums are different, the channels behave differently and so do the consumers on those channels. Publishers must create content that is channel-specific and optimized for each outlet.
Surviving, indeed thriving, as a magazine is a challenge worth taking on as publishers are forced to dig deep to produce amazing content in print.