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Print Gets a Dear John Letter

By on January 30th, 2012

Our friend Mr. Tree at Dead Tree Edition writes an amusing, yet all too true, call for an open marriage with print:

Don’t get us wrong, Print. We still love you. We might look at web pages and tablets, but there’s nothing like holding you in our hands.

We still prefer the beauty and permanence of Print to the ephemeral nature of digital media. Geez, did you see how that photo came out on the iPad? It’s gorgeous. It makes me realize that page in the Print edition was a little out of regis — Oh, where was I?

It’s just that you alone can no longer fulfill all of our career needs. We can’t merely flirt with other media; we need the freedom to get fully involved with them.

Margie Dana, founder of Print Buyers International and the godmother of print buyers everywhere, has been encouraging us to branch out into other media. In this video, she even says, “You’re not leaving Print. It’s Print and, not Print or.”

See, even our godmother says a ménage a trois with other media is OK.

Make that a “ménage à tree,” perhaps…

The post was inspired—if that’s the right word—by an article discussing a study (see if you can follow this chain of links!) by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) that found “in October 2010, the market share for ebooks was less than 5%. In the latest fielding, conducted in August 2011, the market share was almost 16%. Clearly, readers are embracing ereading.” (On a related note, last fall I worked with Library Journal on their second annual study of ebook penetration in libraries and found even more dramatic increases in demand for and circulation of ebooks.)

Mr. Tree also cited a Webcast that indicated that print may not yet be feeling the effects of the proliferation of tablets and ereaders like the iPad, Kindle, Nook, and others. And, as my “co-conspiritor” Dr. Joe pointed out, via Wired, there were “combined Android and iOS activations topping the 6.8 million mark on Dec. 25 alone.” Getting back to Mr. Tree’s original point, this is not to say that no one got printed books or other “treeware” for Christmas, but it needed to sit comfortably under the—uh—tree with these other new media gadgets.

In the business world, specifically that of marketing, Dr. Joe and I talk at length (specifically, 152 pages) in our recent book “Does a Plumber Need a Web Site?” about the need to embrace a mix of print and non-print media, and to stay on the cutting edge of new channels. It also bears mentioning that the book is available in both print and electronic versions. After all, you gotta go where the eyeballs are.

  1. One Response to “Print Gets a Dear John Letter”

  2. By Ken Stewart on Jan 30, 2012 | Reply

    Excellent article, Richard! I loved the tongue and cheek report, and thoroughly enjoyed your play on words. Classic.

    Regards,
    Ken Stewart