More and more media is heading online, leaving old-fashioned print formats in the dust. Books and magazines have been a couple of hold-outs, but it’s looking like they are also getting some serious digital competition.
There is a legitimate competition going on between online and print, and the question starts to be asked about whether or not print can compete in today’s world. With the popularity of the flipbook html5 document format, the battle could coming to an end.
Readability and Interest
This is where the differences between print and digital have long been skewed towards print. Scrolling around on a screen or a PDF file just doesn’t have the same feeling as flipping pages. Now that magazines (or book and catalogs for that matter) can be published with “pages” you can turn as you read, the digital documents have regained that edge over print.
In fact, most digital magazines have recently started to surpass print in visual appeal as publishers are adding more media options. A print magazine may have glorious photos, but do they have video?
Another area where print always won is portability. You can always tuck a magazine or book in your bag for reading on the go. With the spread of tablets, e-readers and smartphones, this is now just as easy with a digital magazine. It’s even more convenient, really, because you can carry several dozen around with you if you want.
Even if you want to read digital magazines that are remotely hosted on servers or the cloud, it’s no longer a problem with so much W-Fi access in public places now.
Changes and Updates
A digital magazine can be updated if an ongoing story is developing, or errors can be fixed with ease. A print magazine is literally set in stone once it’s published. If you are putting out a flipbook-style magazine that is embedded (rather than a downloaded file), then any changes you make are instantly visible to every reader from that point on.
It’s a great point from the publisher’s point of view, but it also means you can rely on up-to-date content as a reader.
Print magazines are no longer the cheap impulse buy at the supermarket checkout. Many issues cost as much as buying a paperback book now, though you can still get a reasonable deal if you subscribe. Well, that’s presuming you live in the United States along with the publisher. Getting magazines subscriptions in other countries can still be expensive because the cost of postage and shipping is added in.
But a digital magazine costs nothing to ship, and certainly makes no difference were you are located to get your copy. Now that doesn’t mean they are free or that they cost nothing to produce. Someone still has to write all the copy, take the photos or shoot the video and there are always costs associated with development, marketing and promotion too.
So you shouldn’t expect digital magazines to simply become a free industry, but the costs usually turn out to be less than their print alternatives, especially if you are a small-scale publication that wouldn’t be able to publish otherwise.
There you have it. These are 4 very important factors in the world of print vs digital, and it does look like digital remains solidly in the lead.