Has the digital transformation killed print?

Some would say yes, research would say…most definitely not.

There is no question that with the advent of digital, the publishing industry has undertaken some radical alterations. It’s true that thousands of newspapers all around the world were either swallowed up by larger corporations or shut down all together as a result of digital. And as we continue to see eBooks, online newspapers, and audio books emerge, some people say that print is dying.

Other people would disagree and instead say print is more exceptional than ever.

The Digital Transformation.

The media industry is still in the midst of a digital transformation, which is largely driven by consumer behavior. Mobile technology has reshaped the way in which people take in information and consume their content. Many are choosing multiple formats for their reading and may listen to an audio book one day and then switch it up with a paperback the following day. It is important to realize that the digital transformation is not temporary. You won’t wake up one day and find that it’s gone. Instead, consumers (and businesses) should try to find the right balance of digital and print to incorporate into their world. And just as digital is not temporary— print has not vanished— it’s merely changed its role in everyday life. And advertisers still very much believe in the value it has for their product.

Print Has Special Qualities.

Print allows you to have complete control. There is no clutter, no annoying popup advertisements, and no commercial interruptions. Print has specific qualities that digital can’t touch—tangible qualities, such as the texture the card stock is printed on, or how the different weights feel. Print can demonstrate quality above all. Consumers cite preferring print to digital for a number of reasons, including finding it easier to read, being able to retain and understand the info better, and having a more relaxed feeling overall while reading. Others feel they pay better attention while reading print and can drown out distracting noises. The bottom line is that print has the personal touch when digital usual does not.

Paper Books Still the Most Popular

Print books are still the most popular format consumers choose to use when reading. In fact, according to a 2018 Pew Research Survey, 39% of Americans chose to read print books only while 29% will read either print books or their eBook counterpart. A mere 7% of Americans chose digital as their only choice for reading. Based on these results it appears to be safe that print is still kicking strong.

Print is proving to be resilient. People enjoy engaging with print materials and like the tangibility it offers. It stimulates the senses in a unique way. Print has a way of truly taking hold of readers and freeing them from distractions that would otherwise ruin the words. So, the next time someone asks, “Is print dead?”, you can tell them the answer is that print media not only survives—it thrives and always comes out on top.