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10 Reasons Print Will Never Die

The demise of print has long been rumored. In fact, no less an expert than satirical paper The Onion declared “Print Dead At 1,803” back in 2013.

Not so fast. While it’s true that digital media has supplanted traditional print methods in many regards, to paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of print’s death are greatly exaggerated.

Depending on where you look, print media is still thriving. It’s true that e-books, audiobooks, and online bookstores have taken a huge bite out of the publishing industry, but hardcover and paperback books are still very popular. And while many newspapers and magazines have shifted to a predominately digital model, there are still lots of readers who prefer physical copies of their periodicals—and pay a hefty price for the luxury.

Admittedly the print industry is not as dominant as it was just 20 years ago. Despite that, traditional print methods—whether offset printing, web-to-print, digital print-on-demand and large-format printing—are still very much alive.

Why Continue Print? Let’s Count the Reasons

How so? Following are 10 reasons why print’s perceived demise is not as imminent as many might think.

Traditional printed material offers something that digital media will never be able to replicate: a physical, tangible experience. You can take a printed newspaper, magazine or book anywhere you go. You never have to worry about internet access—your hardcopy printed item is always online and available. That’s a considerable advantage.
Digital media is so prevalent and pervasive it’s often perceived as somehow less serious or believable. On the other hand, printed books, newspapers and magazines are often seen as more credible sources of information. Maybe it’s a throwback to an earlier time when newspapers and magazines were considered a source of objective and unvarnished truth, while digital content is tarnished by the constant accusation of “misinformation.”
Many people (primarily Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, to be completely honest) still remember the experience of reading physical books, newspapers and magazines. These groups (and probably even some Millennials) recall this experience fondly and feel a sense of nostalgia for print media. As long as these groups are around, print will survive.
printed material does not require staring at a screenIn these days of technology overload, hardcopy printed material allows people to disconnect from the digital world, even if only for a short while. That experience can be tremendously beneficial and therapeutic, and it allows the reader to focus on the content at hand rather than be distracted by all the electronic options.
The unplugged experience comes with another great benefit: printed materials don't require electricity, batteries or Internet access. This means they are available and accessible any time, any place, including areas without reliable power or connectivity. It’s liberating not having to worry about how many bars your phone has, or not having to pay for ridiculously expensive Internet access on your flight or cruise.
It’s amazing how much you can retain when you’re not distracted by Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or other online services. Studies have shown that people who read printed media read more carefully and enjoy greater overall levels of comprehension.
Three-dimensional printed materials that can be held in your hands and viewed from every conceivable angle have a significant visceral advantage over two-dimensional digital imagery. Nothing can compare to a beautifully designed piece that is printed on high-quality paper and features interesting and innovative die cuts and other special features that offer a feast for the senses. An elegantly designed and printed brochure, invitation or annual report can literally be a work of art—something that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. No web page can compare.
We constantly hear about how bad computer screens are for our eyes. Reading from a printed page is less likely to cause eye strain, making it a far healthier alternative to reading from a digital screen. It’s just common sense.
Hard to believe these days, but not everyone has ready access to digital devices or the Internet. For these people, print media represents the best—or in some cases the only—way to access information. For this reason alone, print must continue.
You never know what someone will consider collectible. However, we do know that some printed items, such as first editions of classic novels, are a good investment. Who’s to say more contemporary printed materials—say, Apple Corp. annual reports—won’t hold some sentimental value for collectors in the future? Seriously, printed items can—and have been—collected and displayed as objects of value. The same can’t be said for digital media (non-fungible tokens notwithstanding).

None of these reasons alone guarantee the future of printed media. But taken as a whole, it’s clear that the need for printed hardcopy materials will continue, at least for the time being.

OnFulfillment offers a full complement of digital web-to-print, offset, large-format, and variable-data eco-friendly printing services. If you’d like to learn more about what we can do for your Marketing department, visit our Contact Us page and schedule a meeting. For your time, you’ll receive an OnFulfillment tradeshow kit absolutely free.

Topics: Direct Mail