Print started the first information revolution in history and has been at the center of the mass dissemination of knowledge since the creation of Gutenberg’s press in 1447.
But the convenience and shear speed of the Internet is steadily pushing print into retirement. With new technologies bringing a constant stream of information to the palm of our hand there is little need or desire to head to the newsstand.
In recent years waning sales and high overhead costs have seen many print publications to the grave. Though the digital revolution has left more than a few paper bound casualties many have evolved finding new life on the web.
The Internet offered connoisseurs of adult material unprecedented availability and privacy all but decimating the adult magazine market. But the adult industry embraced the new medium and to say that *** has thrived online would be an understatement.
As more people gained access to the web news sources also quickly discovered that they had to meet the digital demand or die. The ability of readers to get up to the minute news online and delivered to their phones has had dramatic impact on traditional newspaper and magazine sales.
However convenience and speed are not the only benefits of digital publication. The web also provides a platform for interactivity and media such as video content. Men's magazines like Maxim (www.maximonline.com) and Playboy (www.playboy.com) offer media rich content that is not possible in their print versions.
Some producers either through circumstance or choice are switching to all digital closing the book on their print versions. FHM, one of the biggest men's publications, announced that as of March 2007 it will no longer offer a U. S. print version of its magazine, directing readers to http://www.fhmonline.com
A new breed have bypassed print altogether; AskMen.com, Savvy.com and SylkMagazine.com maintain the same level of production as their printed brethren minus the pulp. These true online publications challenge the traditional idea of what is a “magazine" and are on the forefront of what will soon be the standard media.
There is a lot of debate surrounding the demise of print. Print has carried the collective knowledge of civilization through the centuries. There is an innate comfort in feel and smell of a good book and there will always be those that prefer the page to the screen. In the new digital information revolution print is not so much dying as getting a well-deserved retirement.
Zach Turner is a digital media consultant with more than 15 years experience, his success credited to his ability to predict the rise and fall Internet technologies.