Is Print Media Dying?

Posted on

Depending on the platform and media outlet, there are plenty of spurious or misinterpreted statistics spouted about print media’s future, especially as different industries continue to lose revenue as years pass.

Magazines, newspapers, and advertising are still multi-billion dollar industries, yet they are not as profitable as in the past when compared to digital sales. That being said, with more studies emerging on the detriments of blue light exposure or the psychological benefits of reading off-screen, sales trends change.

Without print media, people might spend even more time online. Aside from concerns about blue light and screentime, nostalgia is also a great motivator for purchasing print materials, which is just one of the motivators for people’s preference for print media.

Physical Books Vs. Ebooks

Many people turn down tech for various reasons. With over 90% of the youngest generation partial to physical books over screens out of sheer simplicity, printed books are not dying. Within printed media, physical books are one the biggest reasons it remains a billion-dollar industry.

In addition, physical books can help reduce your screen time, which is especially vital for teens. With teens on phones so often, stocking up on the latest series can deter them from getting distracted by the endless apps online. If the physical book is right in front of them, there’s less of a reason to even turn the phone on.

With that being said, most gravitate towards ebook readers due to their low-cost, especially with companies like Amazon offering specials like their Kindle Unlimited program. Although ebooks and other digital alternatives appear more budget-friendly, there are plenty of affordable physical book options.

Ebook Readers

People typically pick ebook readers for their economical features, but it isn’t the only reason why people go digital. Plenty of ebook readers come with blue light filters and focus modes and other features to keep reading at the center of its use. The light filters and focus modes are pros as much as cons, as not all phones with digital e-readers include these features.

The biggest benefit is portability. It can be difficult to carry an entire series with you. Imagine a high fantasy series from the likes of Brandon Sanderson, George R.R. Martin, or Robert Jordan. Even one of these books can be pretty hefty, so a tablet can certainly lighten the load.


Sometimes you need your hands free — audiobooks make this more possible. They can be great for long road trips for drivers, or for entertainment for the whole family to enjoy. Engaging in any kind of narrative, fictive or not, enriches the mind and enhances any commute or workout. They also give a great screen break without any visual strain.

Audiobooks require a strong attention span. Certain narrators may grate on the ears or patience. Or perhaps the pace of the book is dreadfully dense for an aural experience. Worse, audiobooks are often very pricey, even with subscriptions and discounts. In addition, audiobooks won’t fully replace the experience of a parent reading to their child.


Whether you want ebooks, audiobooks, or physical books, libraries can help with all preferences. Many libraries carry digital and physical options to accommodate patrons. The biggest advantage of a library is that the books are free. Aside from free materials, most libraries prioritize best sellers to get patrons in the door. There are usually community programs for all ages too.

The only downside to libraries is their finite resources. Their tight budgets are often set by a city, state, or county; thus limiting how many copies of a top-selling book they carry.

In addition, if you’re bad with time management, returning books late may come with hefty fees. Not all librarians drop these fees either.

Hard and Paperback Books

If you are investing in print media, hardback and paperback books are great options. You can buy these brand new, rent them from libraries, or even buy preloved copies.

With books in hand, it’s just you and the page. No swiping, charging, focus mode setting, or any other technological hindrance.

With print media, you can even see certain elements better than an e-reader. With certain fantasy series, such as the engaging Throne of Glass series, there may be detailed maps, indices, and genealogical trees. These can be very difficult to view on a digital book. In addition, you can even buy collector’s editions or custom book jackets to protect your treasured tales.

Print Vs. Online Magazines

Print magazines aren’t dying; instead, they’re adapting. In part, this is a response to digital subscriptions. Smaller media groups may feel the pressure and merge with other companies as a response.

Print magazines persist because of their most profitable attribute: print ads. Online ads are ignored over two-thirds of the time. Print ads are stagnant and don’t overwhelm or annoy in quite the same way. People can also save print ads for later reference, which is why mailers still hit your mailbox.

Speaking of trust, search engine ads often target users by online behavior. This comes across as spammy, or for those who don’t understand the ins and outs of marketing, it may feel invasive. Direct mail has a much higher interaction rate than digital advertising too.

Traditional Vs. Digital Marketing

Traditional marketing such as direct mail, billboard advertising, and radio ads are still around for a reason. Although digital marketing is anywhere and everywhere, traditional marketing works for media groups and established brands. Print marketing is still 20% more likely to motivate brand loyalty and a sale.

Think about events like school book fairs. These are often announced via email and then students’ homes receive mailers to remind the entire household. Emails get lost much more easily than a mailer ad stuck to the fridge.

In addition, digital marketing can cost thousands of dollars without market research. As a whole, direct mail is a more effective way to connect with random niches in broader demographics. Digital marketing best serves targeted and segmented audiences.

Newspapers Vs. Online News Sources

The best part about digital news is its viral nature. The built-in social components of online interaction encourage the spread of information. Traditional print media needs the same information dispersal, moving at a relative crawl compared to the internet’s interconnectivity.

However, most readers typically trust printed sources more so in comparison to online sources, especially with many sources publishing democratized information that anyone can change. In fact, only 33% of readers trust online sources, in comparison to physical printed news.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *